Avoiding wooden spoon not the Cowboys’ motivation
COWBOYS coach Paul Green has scoffed at suggestions his side will be motivated by avoiding the wooden spoon after Sunday's one-point loss to Souths saw them plummet to second-last on the ladder.
The defeat was the death knell for the side's already fanciful finals hopes, with star halfback Johnathan Thurston's farewell season to end in disappointment.
The loss to the Rabbitohs was the third one point loss for the Cowboys this year, and the second against Souths, and they have also lost eight games by eight points or less.
The Cowboys entered the season as a premiership fancy after making last year's grand final, but are one win ahead of lowly Parramatta entering the final eight rounds.
North Queensland has finished with the wooden spoon three times, the last coming in 2000, and the Melbourne Storm salary cap scandal saved them from a fourth in 2010.
They face a tough fortnight after the bye this week, with a date with the Raiders in Canberra followed by a home assignment against the top-of-the-table Dragons.
But asked if avoiding it was motivation, Green said: "No it's not, it's no different, it's about playing our best footy each week
"Where you finish on the ladder that looks after itself, so no."
Green said they won't be using the final two months of the year purely as a chance to experiment with younger players.
"I don't comment too much on selections straight after games, but we've still got to make sure that we're picking a team that's going to improve and give us a good chance of winning a game," Green said.
"No I don't think so (we'll start focusing on 2019), not yet.
"There's still a bit of footy to play yet, a lot can happen in a week of footy. We're not ready to put the cue in the rack yet.
"As I've said all along I'm not worried about the back end of the year, it's about trying to win a game next week."
Thurston's final game will now be against the Gold Coast Titans in Robina, with his last home game the week before against the Eels.
"It was Gavin Cooper's 200th game (as a Cowboys) too, which is a huge milestone for the club and when you've got those milestone games for guys who have contributed a lot over the years, you really want to make it a memorable day for them," Green said.
"We were close, but not close enough."