Date:Saturday, September 13 2014
Venue: 1300SMILES Stadium, Townsville
Cowboys: 1 Michael Morgan 2 Kyle Feldt 3 Tautau Moga 4 Kane Linnett 5 Antonio Winterstein 6 Robert Lui
7 Johnathan Thurston (c) 8 Matt Scott (c) 9 Rory Kostjasyn 10 Ashton Sims 11 Gavin Cooper 12 Tariq Sims 13 Jason Taumalolo Interchange: 14 Ray Thompson 15 Scott Bolton 16 Glenn Hall 17 James Tamou
Broncos: 1 Justin Hodges (c) 2 Daniel Vidot 3 Corey Oates 4 Dale Copley 5 Lachlan Maranta 6 Ben Barba
7 Ben Hunt 8 Josh McGuire 9 Andrew McCullough 10 Corey Parker (c) 11 Alex Glenn 12 Matt Gillett
13 Sam Thaiday Interchange: 14 Jarrod Wallace 15 Martin Kennedy 16 Ben Hannant 17 Todd Lowrie
18 David Hala
Cowboys Recent Form
Round 26 vs Sea Eagles (H) won 30-16
Round 25 vs Sharks (H) won 20-19
Round 24 vs Rabbitohs (A) won 22-10
Round 23 vs Panthers (A) lost 23-22
Round 22 vs Tigers won 64-6
Broncos Recent Form
Round 26 vs Storm (A) lost 22-12
Round 25 vs Dragons (H) won 30-22
Round 24 vs Knights (H) won 48-6
Round 23 vs Rabbitohs (A) lost 42-16
Round 22 vs Bulldogs (H) won 41-10
On the back of four wins from their last 5, the North Queensland Cowboys host the Brisbane Broncos in a Saturday night Elimination Final. The Cowboys boast a home record that other teams could only dream of: 12 games for 11 wins. Along the way they have racked up big scores against the Eels(won 42-14 in round 8), Roosters (won 42-10 in round 10), and Tigers (won 64-6 in round 22). It’s been 171 days since the Cowboys tasted defeat in front of their fans and that’s sure to give them plenty of confidence heading into the match.
The Broncos have been hovering on the edge of the eight for much of the season and snuck into the finals despite a 22-12 loss to the Storm in round 26. Their away record in 2014 of 5 wins, 7 losses, may have their fans a little anxious ahead of this Saturday night blockbuster. All eyes will be on Ben Hunt, who has been terrific in 2014, but finals football is a whole new ball game. He needs to handle the pressure and make the big plays when they are needed.
There are so many great individual battles to look forward to; Thurston vs Hunt, Matt Scott vs Josh Maguire, Jason Taumololo vs the returning Sam Thaiday. The key will be getting on the front foot early and the team that wins the forward battle in the opening 10 minutes will go a long way towards winning the match. The danger for the Broncos is getting lost in the emotion of the game. They are facing a team in red-hot form, in front of 20,000 Cowboys fans, playing for their season. It doesn’t get much tougher than that. They must hold their nerve if they get behind in the match.
The two teams met back in round 9, with the Cowboys getting home 27-14 at 1300SMILES Stadium.The Broncos have recently played two genuine title contenders in the Rabbitohs and Storm, and lost both. On the other hand, the Cowboys have played three genuine title contenders and beat the Sea Eagles and Rabbitohs and were unlucky against the Panthers, going down by a point. This will be a great match between two fierce rivals, but the Cowboys have the form behind them and should send the Broncos packing.
Cowboys by 13.