Year in Review 2017: North Queensland Cowboys

Well, what can we say for the Cowboys about 2017? Well for starters it was a year filled with a lot of ups but also just as many downs.

The Cowboys started the year off strong winning 4 of their first 5 games. with the only loss coming at the hands of Manly 30-8. However during this span leading up to the Manly game, the Cowboys lost Co-Captain Matt Scott to an ACL tear back in the Golden Point win over the Broncos in Round 2. They also lost Lock Jason Taumalolo who at the start of the year re-signed with the cowboys for a massive 10 Year $10 Million dollar deal due to a suspension from a shoulder charge. 

These weren't the only injuries the Cowboys faced last season, with the Cowboys having to use a total of 34 players. The Cowboys reportedly were on the border of breaching the second tier Salary Cap which would have seen them fined as well as docked competition points which could have resulted in them not making the finals. 

The Cowboys constantly faced what seemed like an average of three players per game going down injured and lost a lot of quality first graders and fringe first graders for the season which did not help.

Most notable injuries happened to players like:

Johnathan Thurston (Shoulder, Season)
Matt Scott (ACL, Season)
Ben Spina (Torn Bicep, Season)
Patrick Kaufusi (Foot, Season)

But to accomodate these players, throughout the season the Cowboys lost Lachlan Coote, Gavin Cooper, Justin O'neill and John Asiata all for some time also. These weren't all the players that the Cowboys had lost however they lost these players at least twice throughout the season.

But despite all these distractions the Cowboys still managed to push on, they even kept up with the Top 4 for some time but in the end the Injuries just seemed to catch up with them as they look fatigued. 

What looked like the end of the season for them, for the Cowboys a small miricle happened. The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs defeated the St George-Illawara Dragons in Round 26 which saw the Cowboys hold onto 8th spot and I'm sure we all know what went on from here.

The Cowboys defeated the Cronulla Sharks in the elimination final 15-14 in a nail biting finish and went on to face the Parramatta Eels. The Cowboys again came away with a shock upset winning 24-16. Now what most people considered a write off already the Cowboys were to face the Sydney Roosters in the Preliminary Final and once again the underdogs pulled off a convincing 29-16 win and sent them through to the Grand Final where they faced Melbourne.

The Cowboys lost starting Prop Shaun Fensom in the 2nd minute after Ethan Lowe accidentally fell off a tackle and landed on his leg which caused it to snap both bones in his lower leg. But things did not seem over as of yet. The Cowboys kept within the fight for at least the first 20 minutes but after a race-away try by the "Fox" Josh Addo-Carr things just seemed to slip from the Cowboys. 

The Cowboys ended up going down 34-6 on the big stage but to get to that spot showed a lot of courage and strength, as well as the trust and faith they had in each other, they just did not give up all season.

The Cowboys have bolstered their squad for next year bring in Premiership winning Prop Jordan McClean as well as having received Te Maire Martin early from the Penrith Panthers in the 2017 season.

My prediction:

In what will be Johnathan Thurston's final year as a Cowboy you can expect the Cowboys are in for a big season. I strongly believe if they can manage to keep their squad healthy and play off the back of their strong forward pack the Cowboys are easily a Top 4 side and could even push for that Minor Premiership. 



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