JT again the Cowboys' inspiration: Hampton
Johnathan Thurston of the Cowboys reacts after kicking a field goal to win the Round 2 NRL match between the Brisbane Broncos and the North Queensland Cowboys at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Friday, March 10, 2017. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)
Drained by back-to-back extra-time thrillers, North Queensland will once again turn to Johnathan Thurston for inspiration ahead of Saturday night's NRL home clash with Manly.
Cowboys recruit Ben Hampton says they Cowboys are feeling the pinch despite extra days off this week in the wake of last round's epic 21-20 golden point triumph over Brisbane.
It followed their season-opening extra time victory over Canberra.
"There are a few tired boys," former Melbourne playmaker Hampton said.
However, he said the Cowboys are determined to lift again against the Sea Eagles thanks to Thurston's heroics.
Thurston stood up to kick the winning field goal against Brisbane.
But Hampton said it was another play that reminded the team just what was expected from the fatigued Cowboys against Manly.
Hampton was still buzzing from Thurston's remarkable tackle that snuffed out a Brisbane raid and put hulking centre Tautau Moga into touch.
"At one time of the game he was on the other side of the field, next thing he was tackling Tautau Moga over the sidelines on his opposite side," Hampton said.
"We definitely all lift when we see something like that."
Hampton is no stranger to Thurston's genius after researching endless hours of video and lining up against the Cowboys playmaker during four seasons with Melbourne.
However, Hampton - a member of Melbourne's 2016 grand final team - said Thurston never ceased to amaze him.
Especially now he is up close and personal as his Cowboys teammate.
"I have watched him for many years now down in Melbourne," bench utility Hampton said.
"And now to be able to play with a guy like him, it's unbelievable.
"He is everywhere on the field.
"I don't know how he keeps doing it week in, week out."
Hampton may have played in last year's season decider but he said nothing could compare to last round's derby thriller.
"I played in a few tight ones down in Melbourne but nothing was as tight as that game," he said.
"To be involved in a game like that, it was unbelievable. Everyone in the team stood up.
"Then JT (Thurston) kicked that field goal... somehow he does it all the time."
The Cowboys may need some more Thurston inspiration against Manly.
They are also reeling from Test prop Matt Scott's season-ending knee injury and a two-match ban slapped on reigning Dally M Medallist Jason Taumalolo
Youngster Patrick Kaufusi will slot into the front row for Scott while either Coen Hess or Canberra recruit Shaun Fensom will try to fill Taumalolo's shoes at lock.
© AAP 2017