Former North Queensland centre Brent Tate is adamant the Cowboys have nothing to fear from playing finals footy away in Sydney against a Cronulla side they have not beaten since 2018.
The Sharks, who host the Cowboys in a qualifying final on Saturday night, have won their last eight games against North Queensland and 15 of the 20 games they have played against them in Cronulla since 1995.
The Cowboys have struggled in Sydney in finals football in the past, winning seven of their 16 semis at various venues in the NSW capital.
In 2017 they did defy their historical record and won three in a row in Sydney before losing the grand final to Melbourne.
"Playing Sydney finals won't scare the Cowboys," Tate told AAP.
"They are a young group and they are confident.
"I just get the feeling that the Cowboys have been waiting for the finals before shifting from fourth into fifth gear.
"They are all really excited about it. Guys like (five-eighth) Tom Dearden and (fullback) Scott Drinkwater haven't played finals so they are going to be hungry to play well. I think they will go well against the Sharks."
The Cowboys will be seeking strong contributions from former premiership-winning co-captains Chad Townsend (halfback) and Jason Taumalolo (lock).
Taumalolo and winger Kyle Feldt are the last survivors of the 2015 title-winning side. Townsend won the 2016 premiership with his former club Cronulla.
Tate said the Cowboys should get the job done.
"It's a flip of a coin but I am leaning towards the Cowboys," he said.
"You've always got to play well to beat Cronulla. They are one of those teams that drag you down and play dirty and play tough and that's one thing the Cowboys have struggled with a bit.
"The last month the Sharks have won against teams outside the eight but they haven't played anyone of note and they haven't played that well."
The Cowboys are coming off a big win over an understrength Penrith and have had two tough losses to the Sydney Roosters and South Sydney in the past month.
PointsBet Stadium at Cronulla is often referred to as the 'Bermuda Triangle' for visiting teams who regularly watch their previous good form mysteriously disappear at the venue.
Tate, from his own experience in a 229-game career, knows how tough it can be.
"The crowd love it. The Sharks love playing there and it is usually blowing a gale and freezing cold," he said.
"It is not a great place to play footy for a visiting team, but when you play semi-finals you want a loud crowd to get you going."
If the Cowboys win they will host a preliminary final in Townsville in a fortnight for the first time in their history.
"That would be huge. It would be pumping up here," Tate said.