Rugby league great Paul Gallen has ruled a line through North Queensland‘s bid to return to the top eight this season.
Through three games in 2022, The Cowboys sit on two wins following victories against the Raiders and Broncos, and if not for fullback Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow’s foot being just several centimetres offside on a disallowed match-winner against Canterbury, they would likely be undefeated.
It’s been a much better start for Todd Payten’s men this year after the Cowboys’ 2021 campaign started with four losses.
READ MORE: Franklin re-united with milestone ball
Phil Gould, now the general manager of football at the Bulldogs, said he’s been left stunned with North Queensland’s strong start to the season.
“I’ve liked the Cowboys right from the start of things because I think they’ve got some real creativity there and some real speed, and some brilliant back-rowers that I think are going to make a name for themselves in the next couples of years,” Gould told on Nine’s 100% Footy.
However, that response from Gould wasn’t well-received.
“Fool’s gold Gus, fool’s gold,” Gallen replied.
NRL Highlights: Broncos v Cowboys – Round 3
“I can’t see them doing anything. I’m happy they started well because my mate Chad Townsend is up there playing well, I think he’s doing good things at the moment, but I can’t see them anywhere near the top eight.
“They’ve had a brilliant start to the year. They’ve played the Bulldogs, Canberra and the Broncos in the first three rounds of the competition and won two … they’re not going to be top eight.”
Stream the NRL premiership 2022 live and free on 9Now.
North Queensland has missed out on finals football for four-straight years, with their last appearance coming in 2017 when they finished runners-up.
“They’re better than last year, but they’ve got to make the top eight. Unless you make the top eight, you haven’t had a good season,” Gallen.
“I think the way they’re going at the moment, there are probably a few people impressed with them and liking what they’re doing, but I don’t think they get anywhere near the top eight.”
For a daily dose of the best of the breaking news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here!