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Cooper warns against writing off Cowboys

NZN 24/06/2017

North Queensland workhorse Gavin Cooper has warned NRL rivals to write the Cowboys off at their own peril after his club's stirring win over Penrith on Saturday.

With superstar co-captain Johnathan Thurston gone for the season with a shoulder injury picked up in Queensland's thrilling Origin II win on Wednesday, many pundits immediately wrote off the Cowboys' 2017 prospects.

Cooper acknowledged there was no way to replace a talent like Thurston but said his team had plenty of good football ahead.

"We've still got a lot of talent in our team," Cooper said.

"Don't get me wrong, Jonno is going to be sorely missed, everyone knows what he brings to our team, but we've still got some boys that are pretty special."

Michael Morgan laid the platform for the Cowboys win over Penrith with two try assists, including the bomb that led to Kyle Feldt's last minute try and Cooper said the team would continue to lean on the 25-year-old half.

"Morgo really took control at the end of the game when he needed to," he said.

"We've got some boys in our team who can stand up and make big plays and that's what happened against Penrith.

"Morgo has actually asked for more of a role and I think it's shown over the past six-eight weeks. He's been really good for us and to back up like he did after Origin the other night was great.

"We are going to really need him to lead us around the park like that for the rest of the year."

Cooper reeled off his second 80 minute performance in four days in his 250th game for the Cowboys, after being one of the Maroons' best earlier in the week.

He's taken the mantle of captain of the club in the absence of injured duo Thurston and Matt Scott.

"My role hasn't changed too much, I've always been very vocal at training and around the club," he said.

"I'm one of the older boys in the group, I've got a lot to share and if I feel like I have something to say I'll say it.

"We've still got a lot of work to do, don't worry about that, but we are hanging around and we're going alright."

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