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Season Preview - North Queensland Cowboys
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Ins: Lachlan Coote (Panthers), Cameron King (Dragons), Matthew Wright (Sharks).

Outs: Matt Bowen (Wigan), Kalifa Faifai Loa (Titans), Ashley Graham (Retired), Clint Greenshields (Retired), Chris Grevsmuhl (Rabbitohs), Dallas Johnson (Retired), Scott Moore (London).

2013 Record – 8th, 28 points (12 wins, 12 losses).

Stat Rankings:

Attack: 7th, 21.13  ppg

Defence: 6th, 17.08 ppg

Marquee Man: Johnathan Thurston – Very little needs to be said about JT. An inspirational leader and brilliant playmaker, Thurston is a dominant force in the game at every level and remains the Cowboys best chance of securing that elusive first premiership.

Under the Spotlight: Jason Taumalolo – A bustling ball running forward, high hopes are held for the talented Kiwi. Unfortunately his performances to date have been largely inconsistent, with doubts arising over his attitude and application in defence. With a new coach at the helm, 2014 may well be make or break for Taumololo as he seeks to establish a regular first grade spot.

Draw Analysis: Good start, facing just one of last year’s Top 8 teams in the opening 6 rounds. Also have 6 home games in the first 10 weeks which may see them get out of the blocks fast.

Verdict:

After informing coach Neil Henry his services would not be required beyond the season, the Cowboys won their last 6 regular season games to secure the final spot in the playoffs.

A talented roster led by mercurial playmaker Johnathan Thurston, the Cowboys have underachieved in recent seasons as they continue to struggle for combinations in key positions.

Some smart recruitment in Coote and King may well have addressed these issues, and with players keen to impress new coach Paul Green, 2014 could well be the year the Cowboys finally put it all together.

Note: Unfortunately Coote appears to have suffered a possible season ending injury which leaves the Cowboys very thin at the back after the departure of Matt Bowen.

With a favourable start, North Queensland look great value to be the Top Queensland Team at $2.15 with Centrebet

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