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THE build-up is worthy of a paperback thriller, but North Queensland coach Graham Murray doesn't see the Cowboys' chances of toppling the Roosters tomorrow as pure fiction.
After weeks of backslapping, hoopla and endless street parades, Murray said it was time for the Cowboys to re-focus on the game.
"There's a lot at stake, isn't there," Murray said yesterday. "There's a fair bit of intensity in all these sudden-death semi-final games.
"We've got to meet the challenge and rest assured we will take whatever the Roosters throw up at us.
"All the guys got a buzz out of the hundreds of fans who lined The Strand this morning to see us off at the airport. It was fantastic."
Murray said his game plan accounted for flu-riddled Roosters lock Luke Ricketson taking the field in the second preliminary final at Telstra Stadium tomorrow.