ONE-time leading club points scorer and 2005 grand finalist Josh Hannay says the Cowboys' charge to an historic premiership could fizzle out against Cronulla on Saturday night unless representative props Matt Scott and James Tamou fire up.
"I just hope the players, and I'm sure they do, realise how close they are to something very, very special," said Hannay who played 150 games for the Cowboys, including their 30-16 grand final loss to the Tigers in 2005.
"To be honest I'd like to see someone from our pack go out and belt a few of the Cronulla forwards.
"I haven't seen that fire in the belly from our middle men for a while".
The Sharks won't lack any aggression with Paul Gallen, Andrew Fifita, Sam Tagataese and hooker Michael Ennis in the side, and Hannay fears unless Scott and Tamou take it on themselves to find some aggression, the season may be over for the Cowboys.
"If you look at the pack, Jake Granville is a relative rookie, Jason Taumalolo, while the raps are massive is still learning the game, Ethan Lowe is a young, inexperienced back-rower and Gavin Cooper, while he is experienced, intimidation is not his game.
"It really comes down to our two front-rowers - Scott and Tamou. They really need to shoulder the responsibility of providing the intimidation factor.
"It's too much to expect the other guys do that."
Hannay, who is following in the footsteps of Wayne Bennett and coaching Souths Logan Magpies in the Queensland Cup, said if the Cowboys got hot in the next few weeks behind champion halfback Johnathan Thurston, they could go all the way.
Originally from Moranbah, Hannay made his first grade debut for the Cowboys in 1998 as a 16 year-old, but only after the ARL, who initially vetoed him because of his age, gave him a special clearance.
Thurston was in his first season with the club under the late Graham Murray in 2005 when Hannay's personal haul of 150 points helped the team into its first and only grand final.
He said he knew even then that Thurston, who collected an unprecedented fourth Players' Player medal this week and should add a record fourth Dally M to his collection next month, was a special player.
"I was lucky enough to play two years with him and I believe by the time he calls it quits it will be hard to argue he is not the greatest player to have played our game," Hannay told APN.
"When you look at the individual achievements, there won't be a player in the game that will have a resume that reads as well as his."
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