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NRL's Cowboys in 2014

HOW NORTH QUEENSLAND SHAPE UP FOR THE 2014 NRL SEASON

NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS

Premierships: None

Finishes over the past three seasons: 2013 - 8th, 2012 - 5th, 2011 - 7th

Coach: Paul Green

Co-captains: Johnathan Thurston, Matt Scott
NRL's Cowboys in 2014
by AAP

HOW NORTH QUEENSLAND SHAPE UP FOR THE 2014 NRL SEASON

NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS

Premierships: None

Finishes over the past three seasons: 2013 - 8th, 2012 - 5th, 2011 - 7th

Coach: Paul Green

Co-captains: Johnathan Thurston, Matt Scott.

Gains: Lachlan Coote (Panthers), Cameron King (Dragons), Matt Wright (Sharks), Hezron Murgha (Northern Pride).

Losses: Matt Bowen (Wigan), Kalifa Faifai Loa (Titans), Dallas Johnson (retired), Wayne Ulugia (released), Ashley Graham (retired), Jayden Hodges (Sea Eagles), Chris Grevsmuhl (Rabbitohs).

Strength: Star power. With Test props Matt Scott and James Tamou leading the way up front and Johnathan Thurston calling the shots in behind.

Weakness: Depth in the back three. The Cowboys have not only lost favourite son Matt Bowen and his replacement Lachlan Coote (knee), but they've also farewelled wingers Ashley Graham, Wayne Ulugia and Kalifa Faifai Loa.

Money man: Hands-down, Johnathan Thurston. The Test and Queensland Origin five-eighth remains the best playmaker in the game and he's hungry to pilot the Cowboys to their maiden title while still at the peak of his powers.

One to watch: Zac Santo. Green sees Queensland Under-20 fullback Santo as a star of the future and he's set to get his chance earlier than expected after the loss of Coote to injury.

Best team: Zac Santo, Antonio Winterstein, Kane Linnett, Brent Tate, Kyle Feldt, Johnathan Thurston, Robert Lui, Matt Scott, Ray Thompson, James Tamou, Jason Tamalolo, Gavin Cooper, Joel Riethmuller. Interchange: Rory Kostjasyn, Tariq Sims, Ashton Sims, Scott Bolton.

Predicted finish: 6th

Betting: $15


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