Townsville-born Brisbane Broncos captain Gorden Tallis jumped on the Cowboys bandwagon today, warning North Queensland's NRL rivals that they are serious finals contenders.
North Queensland thumped St George-Illawarra 34-10 yesterday, producing a finals brand of defence before turning on some sizzling attack, including a spectacular try to centre Josh Hannay that twice involved irrepressible fullback Matthew Bowen.
Tallis said the Cowboys' thumping of the one-time premiership favourite Dragons was "great for rugby league", especially for Queensland.
"I'm from Townsville, and to watch them play the way they are playing ... they've been threatening and promising to do it for a number of years now," Tallis said.
"They had a big crowd there on Saturday night and they played a side that were premiership favourites about four weeks ago and they really put them away.
"It was a great performance ... they're in the eight now and their destiny is in their own hands.
"Let's hope they can keep winning because it would be great for the state to have two Queensland teams in the finals."
If Brisbane (third) and the Cowboys (sixth) retain their positions they could end up playing each other in the first round of the finals next month.
"Since I've been playing for the Broncos they're probably one of our toughest games, it's always scrappy and we never really get away from them," said Tallis.
"It would be great to see two Queensland teams play each other but it would be sad because one of them would have to lose."
The Cowboys' run to the finals includes the Bulldogs, South Sydney, Penrith, West Tigers, and the Sharks.
The Dragons may have left their A game at home last night, but the Cowboys' defence was superb and their attack at times sparkled, running in six tries.
The Bulldogs were ruthless in beating Penrith on Friday and the Cowboys will need another huge defensive effort to cause an upset in Sydney.