North Queensland star Coen Hess says the Cowboys are focusing on their own game not the Penrith Panthers as they prepare to face the reigning premiers.
The Cowboys have been the surprise package this season and are priced at 12/1 to go on and win the 2022 NRL grand final.
Todd Payten’s side have picked up eight wins so far this season and currently sit third on the ladder, four points behind the Panthers who lead the way.
They face a huge test against Penrith on Friday night but Hess says they cannot worry too much about what the Panthers bring to the party, they need to focus on themselves.
Hess believes they made that mistake earlier in the season and paid the price for it.
"I remember when we versed the Roosters (in round four), we were more worried about them where as going into the Melbourne game last week, we just focused on us and what we need to do well and executed that," the 25-year-old said.
"There will probably be a similar thing going into the Panthers game. We know what they can do, they've got strike power all over the field and if you focus on too many of their players, you get caught up in what you're doing."
Second-rower Hess will be handed the job of replacing the injured Jason Taumalolo and says playing at lock will not be an issue for him.
"It will be no different for me personally, whether it's eight, 10 or 13 on my back it doesn't really change my role too much," Hess added. "We've got a tough task ahead of us this week in the forward pack."