Whether Jonathan Thurston plays or not the Cowboys will still be a formidable foe on Saturday night.
That is Craig Bellamy’s mentality heading into the Round 21 blockbuster in Townsville.
As speculation swirls around rugby league’s most talked about hamstring, the Melbourne master coach is focused on finding away to combat the many other attacking threats North Queensland boast.
The Cowboys piled on a further three tries without their skipper on their way to a 36-0 win over the Bulldogs last Thursday night.
The reigning premiers have shown they are more than a one-man show, meaning that if that man is not there come Saturday night they will still take some serious stopping.
“He is obviously a huge loss as it to any team when you lose your halfback,” Bellamy said.
“They’ve got a lot of good players in that team, a lot of rep players. They’ll obviously miss him without a doubt…but having said that they’ve got a lot of other good players that will take up the slack in his position.
“Other guys around him will be very determined to show they can win without him I’d imagine.
“We are not quite sure if he is playing or if he’s not but at the end of the day that is not our concern, we can only go on what we’ve got and prepare as best we can.”
A Cameron Smith field goal was all that separated these two sides when they met at Suncorp Stadium back in Round 10.
Since they each side has gone through the strains of an Origin period, which Melbourne emerged from with a 5-1 record.
A win over the Cowboys this weekend would see the Victorian side move four games clear inside the top two with five games to play.
It will not be easy as they prepare for the toughest road trip in the NRL.
“The Cowboys have got the best team they’ve ever had at their club, winning the premiership last year and they’ve been playing some great football this year,” Bellamy said.
“On paper they are the team to beat. They’ve basically got the same squad that they had last year that won the grand final.
“They’ve haven’t had too many injuries this year so you would think they are the team to beat.”