North Queensland coach Paul Green sounded like a man who would no longer tolerate excuses ahead of their NRL elimination final against Brisbane.
The time for excuses is over for the North Queensland Cowboys, it seems.
Ten years ago North Queensland made their NRL finals debut.
The next year they made the grand final.
Since then it has been a string of near misses for the star-studded Cowboys.
Then again, they have two pretty good reasons for not advancing their finals cause in the past two seasons.
First there was the undetected “Hand of Foran” knock-on that sparked Manly’s 22-12 semi-final win over North Queensland in 2012.
A year later and the Cowboys were screaming blue murder again, even conjuring Sydney-centric conspiracy theories, when a seventh tackle try sparked Cronulla’s 20-18 elimination final win over North Queensland.
But Cowboys coach Paul Green sounded like a man who was not going to tolerate anything other than success, no matter what, ahead of Saturday night’s elimination final against arch rival Brisbane in Townsville.
Green has heard all the sob stories and listened to the conspiracy theories since taking up the reins from Neil Henry this year.
But the no-nonsense coach made it clear he was only looking for results on his watch.
“We’ve got some big game experience with our Origin guys but we would probably have liked to have more success than we have had in recent years,” he said.
“We don’t want to miss this opportunity or have any regrets after the game.
“It’s only my first year so I can only go on that.
“But this (finals appearance) is a good reward for the hard work we have put in to get where we have finished.
“You need to embrace that big game atmosphere which I am looking forward to.”
Green said he could sense from his big name players, such as co-captains Johnathan Thurston and Matt Scott, that something special was brewing this year.
But it wasn’t until the finals build-up began this week and strangers started stopping him in the street to wish him luck that Green realised how truly special it could be.
Green said destiny was in their hands – not the referees’.
“Desperation is not the word to use,” Green said when asked to sum up his big name roster’s feelings ahead of their must win finals clash.
“But I can sense that they have an opportunity – what we do with it remains to be seen.
“That starts tomorrow night.”
Green hinted that their arch rivals – six-time premiers Brisbane – indicated what could be achieved at North Queensland if they finally ditched the premiership monkey off their back.
“They have a long, proud history,” he said.
“A lot of clubs would aspire to having their success.
“We haven’t won a premiership yet but it’s on our bucket list.”