The North Queensland Cowboys have had to work hard to earn the respect of their peers in the National Rugby League. Now, after a tough slog in the early years, they are regulars at the top end of the ladder.
Paul Green’s men captured hearts and minds all over Australia when they rallied from eighth on the ladder to reach the NRL Grand Final in 2017. They could not replicate that feat in 2018, however, slumping to 13th place in Johnathan Thurston’s farewell season.
After missing finals again in 2019, there is a little bit of pressure on the Cowboys to start delivering the goods. Let’s see what the bookies are saying about their prospects going forward.
About the North Queensland Cowboys
|Home ground:||1300SMILES Stadium|
|Premierships:||One – 2015|
|2019 ladder finish:||14th (9-15)|
Best bookies for North Queensland Cowboys betting
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Updated Cowboys futures odds
|2020 Premiership||Make Finals||Make Top 4||Dally M Odds|
Best NQ Cowboys bets for NRL 2020
There are dozens of NRL futures markets for North Queensland, but where are they likely to return some real value?
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- The Cowboys are still adjusting to life after JT. Some of the young pups were thrown in the deep end last season and will be better for it, but a flag push is still a few years away.
- North Queensland will have to leapfrog a few teams to make the finals this year, but only a fool would write off their chances of doing so. The young guys came on well last year and there is no shortage of top-end talent, especially with Valentine Holmes on board.
- Jason Taumalolo has won the club’s best and fairest four years running and remains a strong candidate for the Dally M Medal. Also have a look at Michael Morgan, who will be right in the thick of it if the Cowboys are up and about this year.
Cowboys players to watch in 2020
With JT retired, Taumalolo is the star attraction in Townsville these days. The Kiwi lock is aiming at five consecutive Paul Bowman Medal wins and will be there or thereabouts in Dally M reckoning if he stays out of trouble.
Morgan carried a big load last season in a team that lacked creative outlets. With some new signings around him and the young bucks a year older, we might see a bit more attacking thrust from the skipper this term.
After an unhappy stint in the United States, Holmes returns to the NRL as North Queensland’s prized recruit. Along with Esan Marsters, the Queensland winger will add serious firepower to the Cowboys’ back half.
North Queensland Cowboys records and stats
- Most games: 294 – Johnathan Thurston
Most career points: 2,182 – Johnathan Thurston
Most points in a season: 234 – Johnathan Thurston (2014)
Most career tries: 130 – Matthew Bowen
Most tries in a season: 22 – Matthew Bowen (2007)
Most points in a match: 24 – Johnathan Thurston (vs. Broncos 2006)
- Most consecutive wins: 11 (2015)
Most consecutive losses: 13 (2008)
Biggest winning margin: 64-6 (vs. Tigers, 2014)
Biggest losing margin: 0-62 (vs. Eels, 2001)
Largest home attendance: 30,302 (vs. Broncos, 2009)
- The story of the North Queensland Cowboys begins in the 1980s with the growing influence of regional teams in the statewide competition. Plans for a team based in Townsville were hatched soon after the Brisbane Broncos were granted admission into the NSWRL in 1988. Years of campaigning bore fruit in 1992, when it was announced that the Cowboys would join the newly created Australian Rugby League in 1995.
Those were tumultuous years for even the most established Sydney clubs, let alone a rag-tag pack of underdogs from the tropical north. The Cowboys went through no fewer than eight captains in their first two seasons as they struggled for stability both on and off the field. Whereas some clubs (read Melbourne Storm) took to the NRL like ducks to water, it was not until 2004 that North Queensland managed to qualify for finals.
That upward trend continued with the landmark signing of Johnathan Thurston in 2005. JT won his first Dally M that season as the Cowboys reached their first NRL Grand Final, where they lost to Wests Tigers. A run to the prelims followed in 2007 before a series of injury woes and off-field dramas saw them slide back to the bottom end of the table in 2008.
The debut of 17-year-old Jason Taumalolo in 2010 heralded the dawn of a new era for the Cowboys. They improved steadily over the coming years, becoming a fixture in the top eight and breaking through with a maiden premiership in 2015.