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Losses steel Cowboys for NRL finals upset
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Lessons learned from two losses to Cronulla this year have primed North Queensland ahead of their NRL elimination final at Allianz Stadium.

The good news for North Queensland is that they have already played two dominant halves of football against defending NRL premiers Cronulla.

Unfortunately for the Cowboys they have spanned two different games – and both ended in defeat.

But North Queensland are confident lessons learned from their rollercoaster losses this year have steeled them for a boilover in Sunday’s NRL elimination final against the Sharks.

An injury-hit Cowboys side have been written off ahead of the knockout clash after relying on other results to scrape into the top eight.

However, Cowboys backrower Ethan Lowe said they would take a lot of confidence into their match against the Sharks despite not being able to string two halves together against them this year.

In round 11, North Queensland led 14-0 at halftime at Southern Cross Group Stadium only to lose 18-14.

And in their round 24 return bout, Cronulla stormed to a 24-6 halftime buffer before holding out an injury-riddled Cowboys 26-16, in Townsville.

“We take a fair bit of confidence out of that,” Lowe said of their games against Cronulla.

“We showed that if we stick with what we do well we can go with them and hopefully come over the top of them in the end.

“We have shown glimpses of what we can do, we just haven’t come over the top and finished them off, which is tough to swallow.”

Cronulla meet North Queensland in a third straight finals campaign on a four-game winning run against the Cowboys.

The Sharks ended North Queensland’s title defence in 2016 with a 32-20 preliminary final thumping.

Cowboys playmaker Michael Morgan said they would not be out to avenge the result on Sunday.

“It was just losing like that, no one likes losing like that,” he said of the Cowboys’ meek effort in the preliminary final loss.

“It’s not like we are trying to make up for 2016.

“But we know we can match them, we’ve shown that both games this year.”

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