North Queensland champion Johnathan Thurston holds no fear about seeking an NRL top four spot against former club Canterbury at Belmore next Thursday.
The Cowboys' 34-6 win over the Warriors in Townsville on Saturday night has turned the clash with the Bulldogs into a potentially decisive one in the race for the top four.
North Queensland sit fifth on the ladder with 30 points, just two behind the fourth-placed Bulldogs.
Given the Cowboys (205) hold a huge differential advantage over the Bulldogs (84), a win at Belmore will put the premiers in the box seat to secure a top four position.
Thurston, who played 29 games in three seasons with the Bulldogs before joining the Cowboys at the end of 2004, says he can't wait to take on his old club.
"They're back to their spiritual home ground there at Belmore," Thurston said.
"Personally, (I am) looking forward to it, but it's going to be great challenge for us to see where we're at both physically and mentally.
"Destiny's in our own hands now. It's right there for us and they'll be thinking the same. It's a big game for both teams."
The Cowboys beat the Warriors without Queensland State of Origin prop Matt Scott.
The veteran front-rower is battling a back injury and coach Paul Green admits he left Scott out with one eye on the clash with the Bulldogs.
"He could have played (but) that definitely would have put him in doubt for Thursday, where we need him," Green said.