Cowboys can send Thurston out to pasture in style
Sydney Roosters to feature highly in pecking order
North Queensland Cowboys were thumped 34-6 by Melbourne Storm in last season's NRL Grand Final but they look cracking value at 6-1 to go one better this time around.
It was the Cowboys' second showing in the final in three seasons and the 2015 champions are set to be there or thereabouts again this time around.
Inspirational skipper Johnathan Thurston returns to the side after spending most of last season on the sidelines with a shoulder injury.
Thurston is set to retire at the end of this campaign and the Cowboys would love to send their legendary scrum-half out on a high. His partnership with rising star Michael Morgan could make the difference.
The betting suggests a three-way scrap for NRL glory, with the Cowboys the outsiders behind 9-2 favourites Sydney Roosters and reigning champs Melbourne Storm at 11-2.
The Storm are generally the team to beat having made the playoffs in 14 of the last 15 season and the final in seven of the last 12 years. They were placed bottom in 2010 for a breach of the salary cap, their only blemish on a phenomenal record.
The three-times NRL champions will go close but the loss of influential half-back Cooper Cronk to Sydney Roosters could hit them hard.
Cronk was part of a formidable triumverate alongside skipper Cameron Smith and full-back Billy Slater.
Smith remains the heartbeat of the team but Slater starts the season injured to further weaken the Storm.
The Storm's loss could be the Roosters' gain with Cronk pitching up alongside fellow star signing James Tedesco.
Tedesco, primarily a full-back, can play anywhere along the backline and along with Cronk could make a huge difference to the side who finished second at the end of the regular season in 2017.
Cowboys to win NRL Grand Final
2pts each-way 6-1 Betway
Roosters to win NRL Grand Final
1pt 9-2 general
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