Date: Monday 1st September
Venue: 1300 Smiles Stadium
North Queensland Cowboys: Michael Morgan, Kyle Feldt, Tautau Moga, Kane Linnett, Antonio Winterstein, Robert Lui, Johnathan Thurston, Matthew Scott, Rory Kostjasyn, Ashton Sims, Gavin Cooper, Tariq Sims, Jason Taumalolo. Interchange: Ray Thompson, Scott Bolton, Glenn Hall, James Tamou
Cronulla- Sutherland Sharks: Michael Gordon, Sosaia Feki, Blake Ayshford, Ricky Leutele, Valentine Holmes, Daniel Holdsworth, Jeff Robson (c), Tim Robinson, Michael Lichaa, Matt Prior, Tinirau Arona, Tupou Sopoaga, Chris Heighington. Interchange: Pat Politoni, Junior Roqica, Sione Masima, Scott Sorenson
The last time these two teams met in September, they lined up in do-or-die finals encounter.
What a huge difference a year can make, as highlighted by the Cronulla Sharks, who sit alone at the rung of the ladder. For the Cowboys, they look certain to make the finals, and will be looking to sure up a high position on the table.
It has been a horrid season for Cronulla, to say the very least. High levels of injuries throughout the squad, suspensions and club changes, as well as the late addition of ASADA bans has seen the squad turnover at an enormous rate.
It seems most weeks a new player is debuting.
For their hosts this Monday, the season is hitting its peak at the right time. With Jonathon Thurston again at his scheming best, the side looks a genuine premiership threat.
The North Queensland side punished the high flying Rabbitohs last week 22-12, and will be looking to improve their for and against, as they aim for a possible top four finish.
It is hard to see Cronulla proving anything of a hurdle for the Cowboys, who should be able to rack up a large sum if they remain focused for the full eighty minutes. Travelling to Townsville is a tough road trip at the best of times, and this is far from that for the Sharks.
Having seen his side dismantle the struggling Wests Tigers 68-6 in round 22, Cowboys’ coach Paul Green will be looking for something of the same.
Cronulla, on the other hand, will be looking for the season’s end.
Cowboys by 40