Thurston’s Cowboys have no chance of winning 2016 NRL PremiershipOctober 9, 2015
Here is a 2016 headline for you. Drumroll please. The North Queensland Cowboys will not win the NRL premiership.
Yes those same Cowboys who just clinched the 2015 Grand Final in unforgettable circumstances against rivals Brisbane don’t have a chance in hell of going back-to-back.
Sure they boast future Immortal and four-time Dally M winner Johnathan Thurston, a squad of stars and a tidal wave of support from anyone north of Rockhampton but there is a slight problem and that problem began as soon as the footy left Thurston’s boot in golden point extra-time last Sunday night.
A footy team works in cycles, their only goal is to win the premiership. Once they win the premiership, no matter the stage of their development or said cycle, everything changes. The downward spiral begins immediately. Sometimes the downward spiral is more a slight alteration, sometimes it’s catastrophic.
Wests Tigers won the big one in 2005 and probably before their time. Immediately their development veered down a different course and they missed the playoffs the following year. As a unit they should have been at their best in say 2007 or 2008 but instead they shocked the world and won it in ’05.
They began a new cycle.
Sometimes the spiral is less obvious.
On the surface your team is the heavyweight of the competition gunning for consecutive premierships. The tide is always working in the other direction however and in the end your team is probably eliminated in the semi-finals.
The Sydney Roosters won the minor premiership under coach Trent Robinson in 2013 which was a result many expected by grand final day. Despite winning the minor premiership again in 2014, something was missing.
Was it human lethargy?
Bounce of the ball?
A superior opposition?
Fact is they were never going to win the premiership again the following year.
It’s just too hard.
South Sydney were the fairytale story of 2014, the team who knocked the Roosters out of the race in the preliminary final, the Rabbitohs won their first piece of silverware in fourty years. As soon as that happened, you could forget 2015. The emotional strain and the pressure released meant the Rabbitohs didn’t stand a chance.
The Cowboys have Thurston you say.
They’ve got blokes in the prime of their career and a forward pack to die for!
Paul Green is a master coach!
Definitely, definitely and potentially.
But the pressure is off, the boys are letting their hair down, celebrating with family, friends and supporters.
They’re being treated like rock stars, returning battle-weary heroes and so they should.
The best and worst thing about winning a premiership is winning a premiership. A hangover of this magnitude lasts twelve months, sometimes a lot longer (ask the Wests Tigers). They also need everything next season to go their way and that becomes far more difficult when they begin their title defence by travelling halfway round the world to play the Super League champions in the World Club Series. There’s also an Auckland Nines, NRL All Stars and trial matches and that’s all before the NRL begins when the other fifteen clubs are gunning for them each and every week.
Then there’s mid-season representative selections where you can bet your bottom dollar the Cowboys will figure heavily.
It’s game over already.
North Queensland is $5 favourites with the TAB to win the title again next season but is that really smart money?
They say nothing is tougher in the NRL than winning the premiership.
If winning the NRL is the toughest, what does that make going back-to-back?
Tom Cruise might just have found his next Mission Impossible blockbuster.
Video source: Premier Sports