2 days ago
Cowboys skipper Travis Norton believes a hard hitting video session of last Friday's NRL finals loss to the Wests Tigers has the Cowboys mentally prepared to tackle the Melbourne Storm this Saturday.
Norton said all players were asked to stand up and take responsibility for their mistakes during the replay of the 50-6 defeat.
And after being given a chance to redeem themselves against the Storm at Aussie Stadium, the skipper said the Cowboys were determined not to let a year spent working towards a premiership go down the gurgler with an early finals exit.
"It was a very honest video session," Norton said. "Every player had a chance to speak up, even the quieter blokes had something to say.
"The coaching staff didn't say anything, whoever did something wrong had to own up to it and say what went wrong. That was the main thing in the video session, a lot of ownership.
"The only thing that hurt was our pride, there was a lot of us embarrassed about our performance.
"From the start of pre-season, the aim for any team is to make the grand final, so there's a lot of work, a lot of months which go into it, and now that we have a second chance, it would be very disappointing for us to bow out this weekend.
"We know that we can't perform as badly as we did the other night."
Both the Storm and Cowboys have spent the past two days firing barbs across the country over players performing grapple tackles.
The war of words helped overshadow the Cowboys' dire performance against the Tigers, as well as breathe fire into a clash which was going to struggle to attract a crowd between non-Sydney teams at Aussie Stadium.
Norton though said it had done little to rev up his players.
"It hasn't affected us at all, obviously all the boys are expecting a lot of questions from the media, but it hasn't affected our preparation," Norton said.
"It's a knockout semi-final and if you can't get up for a knockout semi-final, you're in a lot of trouble."
After riding a wave of support into the Cowboys' first ever finals campaign last year, Norton said the league community in Townsville and north Queensland were again coming out in force.
He admitted the players felt embarrassed to fly back into Townsville at the weekend, but were surprised to see their home town supporters still at the airport to welcome them home.
"It was pretty amazing when we got off the plane and there was a lot of fans there ... we didn't expect anyone to be there," Norton said.