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Cowboys wary of Carney factor for Sharks

North Queensland are wary Todd Carney's presence will ensure they face a different Cronulla in Saturday's NRL elimination final to the one they beat a fortnight ago.
Cowboys wary of Carney factor for Sharks
by AAP

By Ed Jackson

GOLD COAST, Sept 13 AAP - North Queensland are wary Todd Carney's presence will ensure they face a different Cronulla in Saturday's NRL elimination final to the one they beat a fortnight ago.

The Sharks were without their key playmaker in the round 25 loss to the Cowboys at Remondis Stadium, part of North Queensland's remarkable six-match winning run to reach the finals.

Both the Sharks and Cowboys are heavily reliant on their five-eighths and whichever No.6 has the upper hand on Saturday is set to emerge victorious.

Carney has more than three times the number of try assists (20) of his next best teammate while Cowboys talisman Johnathan Thurston is just as vital to his team's hopes.

There's no doubt Carney's return to Cronulla's line-up in time for the finals has put the Cowboys on notice.

"Without Carney it's a totally different team," Cowboys winger Antonio Winterstein told AAP.

"He's the go-to man in their team and he's the general.

"When we played them and he wasn't there, that really took away their kicking game. They couldn't really get into any good field positions.

"This week it'll be a totally different side and they'll be stepping it up with a fully-fit squad."

Winterstein has been an ever-present through the Cowboys' winning streak and he feels the belief generated over those games will carry over into the finals.

"A few weeks ago no-one expected us to be there," Winterstein said.

"To prove everyone wrong and prove ourselves wrong is a massive feeling."


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