Cowboys prop Josh McGuire laughed off the lack of atmosphere in an empty ANZ Stadium on Thursday night, saying it made a nice change from the reception he usually gets in Sydney.
"It was good, I wasn't getting sprayed for once which was nice. I usually get sprayed down here," McGuire joked after the 24-16 win on Thursday night.
"You train like that every week, I don't really notice the fans too much, it was good just to get out there and play footy. Once you cross those white lines you just rip in."
Aside from avoiding the accustomed ear-bashing from the crowd, there were other upsides to the empty ground, according to McGuire.
"It was pretty good with the referees, you can hear them a lot better and pick up on plays and communication between the players is a lot easier so I think it's going to make for a good brand of footy," he said.
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"Obviously I love playing for the fans but you take the positives out of everything."
Having left Townsville at 11am and arrived at the ground at 4pm for an 8pm kick-off, the Cowboys returned to the airport to land back home around 2am.
"It was pretty strange to be honest, I got to stay home and have breakfast with my kids and wish them good luck for school and tell them I'll be home tonight. It was quite nice to be honest," he said.
"Everyone bought into it. Greeny [coach Paul Green] and the staff are all about doing your job under any circumstances and turning up and playing good football.
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"We're paid to play footy under any circumstances and that's what the NRL is trying to get us to do.
"We're excited, we want to play footy, we want to put a game on for the people at home and if that's what it takes, to fly in [on] game day and play a game of footy, we'll do it.
"Teams will be on the other end coming up to our home games as well."
McGuire and fellow prop Jordan McLean were instrumental in the Cowboys' win, though both took a back seat to a monumental Jason Taumalolo effort which included a record 345 metres and a try.
"I think with Jase, he's been doing it for so long so you're kind of not surprised when he does do stuff like that," McGuire added.
"It's what probably makes him the best middle forward in the game is just his consistency of playing good footy every week. I'm privileged to be able to play alongside him and get on the back of him.
"You can't really stop him, he's one of a kind and I'm privileged and excited I get to play with him instead of against him. I've been on the opposite end for a lot of years playing against him.
"I haven't got enough praise to say about Jase and Jordan McLean as well, he's an Australian front-rower and I think tonight he really stamped himself back up there to show everyone what he's capable of."