Cowboys urge caution against tough Panthers
North Queensland has dismissed the old sporting enemy known as complacency as a threat to backing up last weekend's big win with another victory over Penrith tomorrow.
Coming off a 36-0 shutout of St George-Illawarra, the defending premier will still need to take its A-grade game to the foot of the mountains after the Panthers finally won a tight match 20-18 on the last play against Parramatta last weekend.
It followed confidence-sapping losses to the Dragons, 14-12, and Brisbane, 23-22, in previous weeks.
"They're tough. They've been very unlucky being beaten at the death in a few of their games and playing them at home will be a challenge," Cowboys forward Gavin Cooper said.
"They throw a lot at you and they play for 80 minutes, which is something we will have to do ourselves."
Cooper and five-eighth Michael Morgan both believe the return of class fullback Matt Moylan put a spring in the Panthers' step last weekend when they upset the Eels.
"They were a lot more positive with Moylan back at fullback," said Cooper, who added Penrith had great supporters that would make life uncomfortable for the Cowboys.
"Matty (Moylan) is very skilful and he is the leader of his club," said Morgan, an outside chance of being selected as a utility for Australia's Test against the Kiwis next month.
"He turns up everywhere, left and right side, and in the middle.
"When he plays off the cuff he can be very dangerous as well, so we will have to keep our line and not offer him spaces."
The form of young Penrith No.6 Te Maire Martin has not gone unnoticed in North Queensland.
"He is pretty handy," Cooper said. "He looks cool, calm and collected for a young player just coming into first-grade. He looks very comfortable, just what Jamie Soward probably needs."
Penrith has looked more dangerous since shifting Peter Wallace into hooker and giving Martin his opportunity to live up to the high expectations on his young shoulders.
NSW Origin hopeful Bryce Cartwright, who scored the game-winner against the Eels, will again be pivotal in the Panthers attack with his knack of coming up with the unexpected.
Cartwright's ability to break the line and off-load in the toughest of situations has caught the eye of Blues coach Laurie Daley who will monitor his progress in the coming weeks.
North Queensland has a dominant head-to-head record over Penrith but at Pepper Stadium the Cowboys are 8-8.