2015 will be a year that is never forgotten by fans of the Cowboys, as the club ended its title drought in the most exciting way possible.
The usual suspects in Thurston and Scott were brilliant all season, but their supporting cast became genuine stars in their own right.
Across the squad, there really is no weakness. Players who had indifferent 2014s had brilliant 2015s.
Everything went right and the Cowboys cashed in. They finished third overall, however deserved their title win.
Paul Green deserves a great amount of credit for the way he had all of his big guns firing.
Season Highlight: 17-16 win over the Broncos (Grand Final)
It simply couldn’t be any other moment.
With three minutes to go the game looked gone. Brisbane had been milking the clock, and the Cowboys looked like they run out of ideas.
The final few moments will live on in our memories, possibly as the most exciting finish to a Grand Final in modern times.
No player has ever deserved that match, and season, winning moment more than Thurston.
Whoever wrote the script that day deserves a round of applause. What a game. What a performance. What an occasion.
Season Lowlight: Second Half of their 24-18 loss to the Sharks (Round 16)
18-0 up at home to a side who looked like they were already planning their trip home, the Cowboys looked like running up a cricket score against the Sharks.
I’m not sure what was in the water at half time, I certainly don’t remember a huge wind blowing, but the game turned on its heads in the final 40.
The Sharks ran in four soft tries from short distance, leaving the Cowboys to wonder if they could win without Thurston.
In the end if didn’t matter, as Thurston returned and led the side to a historic win, but for those few days, we saw a chink in the Cowboy armour we hadn’t seen for weeks, or wouldn’t see again.
Star Player: Johnathan Thurston
The Cowboys captain was THE premier player of the competition all season and earned his fourth Dally M medal.
I don’t buy into this inducting immortals after they’ve just retired line of thought, but if there was ever a player (in my life time) to consider doing just that, it is Thurston.
He laid on an amazing 28 try assists in 21 games and kicked three of the most important field goals in the club’s history, including THE most important.
Experts said he only needed to lead his side to a premiership (after playing a bit part for the Dogs) to cement his legacy, and he did just that, and more.
Most Disappointing Player: Matthew Wright
This is grade A nitpicking, as I don’t think a single player on the Cowboys roster truly disappointed.
Matt Wright perhaps didn’t live up to the expectations set after his solid 2014, as spent more time in the QLD cup than he did in first grade.
His demotion was a shame for Wright himself, but it worked out extremely well for the club, as Feldt and Winterstein had brilliant finals and an even better Grand Final.
Wright will hope to force his way back into the side next season.
Future Star: John Asiata
22 year-old John Asiata burst onto the scene in a big way in 2015. The former NYC team of the year members played in 21 games, including the decider.
Although he won the club’s rookie of the year award in 2014, most fans really only started taking notice of his efforts this season.
At six foot tall, and almost 100 kilos, it’s hard to miss him at all.
He earned his first run on start this season, and a contract extension. Given he will spend the next two seasons running off Thurston and Morgan, he could become a devastating impact player.
Best Signing For 2016: Shaun Hudson
The Cowboys have only added two players to their roster in 2016, after holding onto almost all of their victorious 2015 squad.
They focused on retaining their current players, and only signed two young members of the Titans NYC side in Shaun Hudson and Jahrome Hughes.
Given that Hughes joined earlier in the season, Hudson wins the accolade almost by default.
That being said, he is able to cover a wide range of positions, and could be a handy pick up during the Origin weeks, or if the squad suffers injuries in the backline.
The short answer is; very good.
There’s no secret that it is extremely difficult in the modern game to go back-to-back, but the Cowboys have all the tools.
Unlike the Bunnies, hey have not lost any big name players following their title win, so they’ll run on with an almost identical side in 2016.
If Thurston and Morgan stay fit, there really is no reason this Cowboys side can’t be right there or there abouts once again next season.
Season Grading: A+
Almost every player in the squad had a career best season. Michael Morgan’s move to five-eight has surpassed even the most positive predictions.
Lachlan Coote’s return from injury gave the Cowboys another route of attack, while Gavin Cooper and Ethan Lowe fulfilled their potential and turned in A+ seasons.
Taumalolo started slow, but warmed to the task. Matt Scott had another blinder, while Ben Hannant was a monster off the bench.
James Tamou, after a rough 2014, blew everyone away, and probably deserved to win the Clive Churchill medal for his efforts on Grand Final day.
Jake Granville won’t attract the attention that Thurston and Morgan will, however I would argue that his addition to the side made a massive difference to the Cowboy attack. Dummy half had been a problem position for the otherwise strong Cowboys, and in Granville they have an absolute gem.