NORTH Queensland coach Paul Green believes he has enough players with big game experience to end rival Wayne Bennett's streak of seven straight grand final wins at ANZ Stadium on Sunday.
"Our players have got a lot of big game experience," said Green who goes up against his former mentor Bennett.
"It's not grand final experience, but it's representative football and there's not that much difference."
Green's midfield general and Cowboys co-captain Matt Scott backed his coach, saying friendships with most of Brisbane's forward pack would count for nothing once the whistle was blown.
Ten of the 26 starting players went around in this year's State of Origin series. Nine played for Queensland while Cowboys prop James Tamou turned out for the Blues.
Scott said past battles between the two Queensland clubs had established a fierce rivalry which he expected would hit new heights on Sunday when the Cowboys will chase the club's first premiership.
"I've got a lot of good friends (Brisbane) and we've had some great battles over the years," he said.
"They're not dirty and there is a lot of respect both ways."
The Cowboys were given a boisterous send-off from Townsville Airport, with hundreds of fans turning up to cheer the players off after a street parade through the town centre.
Scott said the players had expected a big crowd, but many were still surprised by the number that turned up.
- WAYNE HEMING
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