There were tears in Townsville when they lost the last one.
Even the bushies were wiping eyes. Before heading back to the bar at the Leagues Club.
No point dwelling on it. It’s only a game. Two pots thanks love.
The Cowboys faithful had dared to dream. A grand final after ten years. So close.
Reality hit, as the Tigers were presented with their medals in Sydney. Premierships are so bloody hard to achieve.
This club is different to any other. Not bigger, or better. Just different.
When the fans go to home games .. it’s not your normal bus trip. Try four hours each way. And then some.
There are tiny towns dotted through Western Queensland .. where they gather in the pub each Saturday night, to cheer the Cows.
The discussion will turn to the forecast. Any rain out your way? There’s a new Flash Harry PM eh? And with small talk done, they’ll move on to the important stuff. Is JT’s groin stuffed?
Head into the Cape, way up north, and you’ll hear kids laughing. In that cheeky North Queensland way. There’ll be a footy close by. The game could resume at any time. Shoes optional. Don’t fall for his dummy.
That’s how it was every arvo in Hopevale. Not sure if google maps does street view there. Fiji is closer for some of you.
A little bugger named Matty Bowen starred in those never-ending battles in the front yard. Years before be became a Cowboys legend.
The supporters are different too. Not better or more passionate. Just different.
Success on the footy field, gives so many hope. In communities where lifestyle problems make a game of footy seem insignificant. In towns where day to day dramas are much more serious than Michael Morgan’s ankle.
But when the Cowboys are winning, life gets a little sweeter. Maybe it WILL rain soon. If JT can do it, then maybe I can too?
And so, to the bloke who inspires them the most. So much rests on the skinny shoulders of this proud indigenous Queenslander.
Don’t dare call Thurston a hero. He doesn’t want that. He’s a wonderful footy player, who knows life could have taken a very different turn, had he not been inspired to use those God-given talents.
Every time he gives that sweaty, stinky headgear away, another kid goes to sleep, dreaming big.
The beauty of this grand final is that Queensland can’t lose. The powerhouse that is the Broncos, will have the other half of the state delirious if they send Hodgo out a winner.
The Broncos expect it. They’ve won before, and they’ll win again.
I hope it’s not their day. That the Supercoach is denied. I want to hear an almighty roar in the North.
I want farmers to have a little sleep in, because of their celebrations. Just this once.
I want the front yard games to start early, and finish later, with the kids commentating on the match-winning try.
I want a generation of young North Queenslanders, to see that hard work does pay off. That one day, they’ll be giving away the smelly headgear.
Here’s to wiping away a few tears on Sunday night. Before the bushies head back to the bar. With bloody big smiles.