Drinkwater's rise to NRL fullback stardom

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He may be one of only two North Queensland backline starters without a representative nod in 2022 but Scott Drinkwater has become one of the form fullbacks of the NRL as the season reaches its climax.

Looked over in favour of Tom Dearden to pair with Chad Townsend in the halves, Drinkwater waited patiently in the wings until a knee injury sidelined Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow, thrusting him into the fullback slot from round five.

He then reinvigorated a Cowboys side that has since seen off competition heavyweights to be on track for a top-two finish.

Murray Taulagi, Valentine Holmes, Tabuai-Fidow, Dearden and Townsend all earned State of Origin call-ups with Peta Hiku playing for New Zealand in the international window and only Drinkwater and Kyle Feldt missing out on a rep call.

But playing week-in, week-out for his club, Drinkwater has made the No.1 jersey his own, as a team once tipped for the wooden spoon rose to be second on the ladder with five games to play.

Drinkwater has 14 try assists from his 18 games to sit equal sixth in the NRL, to go with eight tries and 13 line assists.

Coach Todd Payten has given him the green light to play an eyes-up style off the back off the Cowboys' structured game plan, but ultimately he says it comes down to decision making.

"Choosing the high-percentage plays - Todd doesn't like low-percentage plays," Drinkwater said on Wednesday

"Unless you know, it's on the siren and we need something. But, yeah, I try not to go too much out of what he tells me to do."

The Cowboys face Canterbury on Sunday in Bundaberg before an away trip to Sydney against the Roosters; two teams that got early wins over them as the season began.

Asked if the young squad feels any pressure heading into a first finals appearance since 2017, Drinkwater said it's all about getting there first.

"Once we get to that stage, (there's) probably a bit more pressure, maybe more nerves but at the moment we're running pretty cool," he said.

"It's exciting. We're confident in our footy, which is the main thing, and we know our game and when we get our game on we believe that it's good enough to win.

"That's what the good sides do."

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