North Queensland returns to Townsville with the two points from the Titans and probably even more importantly, two players coming back into the squad with the return of Taumalolo and Coote. The Bunnies went down to their bitter rivals the Roosters, and while the stats showed one version of the game, watching the contest revealed some issues for the Bunnies that need to be addressed.

Last Time Out

The Cowboys were always in control against the Titans, a late try made the result a solitary try in margin, but the general defence was a significant step up from the previous effort against Manly. Three young guns shone bright, with Coen Hess shattering the Titans hopes by planting down two meat pies and Gideon Gela-Mosby and Kalyn Ponga also featured with scores of their own and it was a much more settled attack that seemed flat in the previous weeks.

South Sydney looked stale when in attack. The loss of Ingliss has hit hard and whilst the return of Adam Reynolds gave them a more positive attitude in attack, the finishing and timing was lacking. Mind you, the Roosters are undefeated at the top of the ladder and make this loss a little more palatable for the club stalwarts (but I doubt it).

Key Battle

This is easy, Jason Taumalolo signed a ten-year deal during his two-week suspension. He has always attracted attention, now he will also be the yardstick. His opposite number is Sam Burgess, inconsistent form so far this season, and the lack of discipline, most probably caused by frustration, will make this clash the blockbuster of the round let alone the game. Neither player likes to take a backward step and both are vigorous in both defence and attack. Before his unintended holiday Taumalolo ran for 295 and 231 metres, now refreshed, he may want to crack three hundred.

Prediction

Souths two wins came against a dysfunctional Manly side and a Knights side that fell as quickly as they raised themselves up after breaking an almost year-long winless streak. Their losses were against the Tigers and Roosters, and so it is hard to gauge were they really are, form wise. The Cowboys ha their loss against Manly happen when DCE came out of his shell and the local lads had four new players in the game. Apart from that, they have been solid and should be well equipped to handle the Bunnies this Friday evening.

Cowboys by 6+.

North Queensland Cowboys: 1. Lachlan Coote, 2. Kyle Feldt, Javid Bowen, 4. Kane Linnett,
5. Gideon Gela-Mosby, 6. Michael Morgan, 7. Johnathan Thurston (c), 8. Patrick Kaufusi,
9. Jake Granville, 10. Scott Bolton, 11. Gavin Cooper, 12. Ethan Lowe, 13. Jason Taumalolo,
INTERCHANGE: 14. Ben Hampton, 15. John Asiata, 16. Coen Hess, 17. Shaun Fensom,
18. Sam Hoare, 19. Kalyn Ponga, 20. Corey Jensen, 21. Ben Spina.

Souths Rabbitohs: 1. Alex Johnston, 2. Braidon Burns, 3. Robert Jennings, 4. Siosifa Talakai,
5. Bryson Goodwin, 6. Cody Walker, 7. Adam Reynolds, 8. Thomas Burgess, 9. Robbie Farah,
10. Jason Clark, 11. John Sutton, 12. Kyle Turner, 13. Sam Burgess (c),
INTERCHANGE: 14. Damien Cook, 15. Angus Crichton, 16. Zane Musgrove, 17. Robbie Rochow,
18. Sitiveni Moceidreke, 19. Anthony Cherrington, 20. Cameron Murray, 21. Tyrell Fuimaono.