Date: 2nd August
Venue: 1300SMILES Stadium
North Queensland Cowboys:
Michael Morgan, Tautau Moga, Matthew Wright, Kane Linnett, Antonio Winterstein, Robert Lui, Johnathan Thurston, Matthew Scott, Rory Kostjasyn, James Tamou, Tariq Sims, Jason Taumalolo, Glenn Hall.
Interchange: Ray Thompson, Scott Bolton, Ashton Sims, John Asiata, Sam Hoare
Gold Coast Titans:
Kevin Gordon, Anthony Don, James Roberts, Dave Taylor, David Mead, Brad Takairangi, Daniel Mortimer, Luke Douglas, Beau Falloon, Nate Myles, Mark Minichiello, Paul Carter, Greg Bird.
Interchange: Matt White, Mark Ioane, Cody Nelson, Maurice Blair
North Queensland Cowboys return to Townsville following a successful three weeks on the road as they secured back to back victories away from home, which has strengthened their chances of finishing in the eight.
Those are the only wins away from home the Cowboys have registered this season and their opponents this week are Gold Coast Titans, who are huge outsiders to reach the finals and will have to win the majority of their remaining games in order to do so.
The Titans started the campaign strong but with just two wins in their last ten games they will be looking towards next season rather than extending this year.
The Cowboys produced a shock win over the high-flying Bulldogs at a stadium they hadn’t won at in their last nine attempts, dating back to 2006, when they ran out 12-20 winners in Round 20.
It wasn’t a good weekend for the Titans though, as Jarryd Hayne inspired the Eels to an 18-24 win on the Gold Coast.
The ladder couldn’t be any tighter with just four points separating second from twelfth so every competition point is vital for sides striving towards the finals.
Gold Coast have a salary cap investigation looming over them which will not help their cause, not to mention the fact that the home side will be channelling the strength and power of Thor as we enter Marvel’s Super Hero round.
Matthew Scott returns for the Cowboys as he recovers from a fractured cheekbone with James Tamou named despite being taken to hospital last week to treat a neck injury. Tautau Moga moves to the wing in a straight swap with Matthew Wright, who moves inside to the centres.
The only change for the Titans is the return of David Mead out wide, as he replaces former Cowboy Kalifa Faifai Loa who picked up a knee injury against the Eeels.
If this season has shown us anything it’s that anything can happen and it would take a big performance for the Titans to get anything out of this one with the Cowboys in form and at home where they have been strong.
Cowboys by 12
North Queensland Cowboys
Ladder Position: 7th, 22 points, +86
Last 5: LWLWW
Last Win: vs Bulldogs, Away, Round 20, 12-20
Last Defeat: vs Dragons, Away, Round 17, 27-24
Last time they met: L, Away, Round 4, 13-12
Gold Coast Titans
Ladder Position: 13th, 20 points, -66
Last 5: LWLWL
Last Win: vs Knights, Away, Round 19, 8-22
Last Defeat: vs Eels, Home, Round 20, 18-24
Last time they met: W, Home, Round 4, 13-12