Johnathan Thurston is hoping to lead the Cowboys back to the grand final. Picture: Alix Sweeney
Johnathan Thurston is hoping to lead the Cowboys back to the grand final. Picture: Alix Sweeney

Why Cowboys will reclaim NRL crown

FOX Sports presenter Yvonne Sampson is backing the Cowboys to pull off a fairytale farewell for Johnathan Thurston ahead of what is set to be another blockbuster NRL season.

And it's not just North Queensland that Sampson expects will do the Sunshine State proud this year, as she gears up to return home to host the not-to-be-missed NRL Season Launch Luncheon, presented by The Courier-Mail.

The Townsville-born rugby league aficionado has also tipped the Titans to be the dark horses of 2018.

 

Johnathan Thurston could be in his final season with the Cowboys. Picture: Alix Sweeney
Johnathan Thurston could be in his final season with the Cowboys. Picture: Alix Sweeney

 

Sampson will come face-to-face with all three Queensland club coaches before the season kicks off, at what is the biggest NRL launch in the state on February 27.

The event, to be held at Suncorp Stadium, will see Broncos coach Wayne Bennett joined on a panel by Cowboys rival Paul Green and Titans newcomer Garth Brennan, while NRL CEO Todd Greenberg will also be on hand to share his thoughts for the year ahead.

Yvonne Sampson. Picture: Fox Sports
Yvonne Sampson. Picture: Fox Sports

Sampson already has a few big predictions up her sleeve, claiming it is hard to go past the Cowboys for the premiership.

"They have the motivation with JT back in his final year," she said.

"They would love to send him out as a premiership winner. It's going to be very emotional.

"If you could, you would give the perfect finish to everyone. If there is any rugby league god out there, I hope they're watching this season."

The new-look Titans, led by star halfback Ashley Taylor, could be a dark horse in this season’s competition. Picture: Brendon Thorne/Getty Images
The new-look Titans, led by star halfback Ashley Taylor, could be a dark horse in this season’s competition. Picture: Brendon Thorne/Getty Images

As for the southeast corner of the state, Sampson said she expects the Titans will finally be able to put their troubled past behind them and prove a few doubters wrong.

"They've had a rough few seasons and I think there was so much drama and distraction," she said.

"But that club is definitely at a stage where they can build a new era for themselves and make their footprint on the Gold Coast."

Secure your tickets to Queensland's NRL season launch: couriermail.com.au/nrllunch



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