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Fraser Barton

Feldt backs Cowboys' mental strength

Kyle Feldt (l) says North Queensland's mental toughness holds them in good stead for the season. (AAP)

Kyle Feldt says North Queenland's climb up the NRL ladder is largely due to a gruelling preseason which toughened them up both physically and mentally.

And the winger maintains it's that mental strength that will hold the second-placed Cowboys in good stead come season's end.

Feldt scored on his return from a knee injury against Brisbane in round 16 and then welcomed a week off to rest both mentally and physically as the business end of the season approaches.

He recalls what was ingrained in them before the season - win not just the physical battle but the mental one too.

North Queensland's coaching staff had the side running up Townsville's Castle Hill and on their return to the bottom did it all again to drive fitness and mental strength.

Throughout 2022 veterans like Jason Taumalolo, Feldt and Jake Granville have expressed their distaste towards tackle bags after ruthlessly grinding through endless preseason drills.

That grind has spurred the Cowboys to the second best points differential through 17 rounds and a league best (199) ineffective tackles.

Feldt says their style of play has taken its toll but getting their opposition into the deep end mentally is exactly where they want to be.

"We're playing the football that we want to play and no team can really go with us as such," he told AAP.

"It does hurt the way we're playing because it takes a toll on our body but we're backing our fitness that we've done all preseason - and it's showing.

"Every team that goes to the wire with us can't match it."

That was on full display just a week before their derby win over Brisbane, scoring three tries in the final eight minutes to shock Manly 28-26 in front of their home fans.

The 26 points allowed in that contest was their second highest of the season (28), in stark contrast to the 31.1 points per game allowed in 2021.

Averaging just14 points against them this year, Feldt said their success so far is full testament to the coaching staff.

"You put yourself in a deep end and the way that we trained all preseason is that we've been in the deep end ,we're fighting hard, we're out fighting our opposition," Feldt said.

"We get them into the deep and they can't swim with us.

"Those (preseason) mental demons we can just get past and it shows in our footy team this year."

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