The Canterbury- Bankstown Bulldogs and the North Queensland Cowboys will kick off the first game of the Indigenous round at ANZ Stadium on Thursday night at 7:50pm.

The Bulldogs currently sit at 8th place on the ladder with the Cowboys sitting just below them in 9th.

Majority of the players will be rested after a week off for rep round, below are the players are represented the teams over the weekend.

Cowboys: Michael Morgan (Kangaroos) , Jason Taumalolo (Kiwis), Johnathan Thurston (who will not play after suffering injury in rep round), Antonio Winterstein (Samoa), John Asiata (Samoa), Patrick Kaufusi (Tonga),

Bulldogs: James Graham (England), David Klemmer (Kangaroos), Marcelo Montoya (Fiji), Will Hopoate (Tonga), Brenko Lee (Tonga), Sam Kasiano (Samoa), Adam Elliott (Country) and Matt Frawley (Country).

Matt Frawley has been named to start as the Bulldogs five-eighth with Moses Mbye in the halves. Cowboys have named key inclusions to the side with Lachlan Coote and Jake Granville returning from injuries. Cowboys will be without captain and halfback Johnathan Thurston due to a shoulder injury.

LAST TIME OUT

The Cowboys had a tough challenge in round 9 in front of a home crowd at 1300SMILES Stadium and went down to the Parramatta Eels 26-6. Antonio Winterstein was the first to score for the Cowboys in the 64th minute with Kyle Feldt adding the extra two points in the 66th minute which wasn’t enough to secure the Cowboys the win. Kalyn Ponga played a vital role within the Cowboys line-up after contributing 132 metres throughout the game. The Cowboys managed to maintain 48% of possession throughout the match with a 66% completion rate.

The Bulldogs are coming off a victory after defeating the Canberra Raiders 16-10 at ANZ Stadium in round 9. Adam Elliott had a strong game in the blue and white jersey after scoring his career first double [tries] contributing eight points to the match. The Bulldogs displayed impressive defence throughout the game managing to hold on to the lead by six. Will Hopoate had a huge contribution running the most metres in the game against the Raiders with 308 m, Aiden Tolman next followed with the second most amount of metres of the game with 203 m.

 

KEY BATTLE

With playmaker and captain Johnathan Thurston ruled out due to a shoulder injury he picked up in the Kangaroos clash last weekend, the key battle will be between the fullbacks. Both fullbacks will be returning to the field after suffering injuries this season Will Hopoate (Bulldogs) and Lachlan Coote (Cowboys).

Both players make a significant influence on their side especially within the fullback role. Coote has made one more appearance this season and has scored a try, two line breaks and a try assist for the Cowboys playing a crucial role in the backline. Will Hopoate will be looking to have a large contribution especially after returning to the field last week against the Raiders and making a huge impact on the fullback role on the field.

 

PREDICTION

I believe it will be a difficult challenge for both sides but I think the Bulldogs will be up to the challenge despite missing five-eighth Josh Reynolds. The return of Coote and Granville will be huge for the Cowboys but not enough to stop the dogs. The Bulldogs form last week was terrific against the Raiders defeating them at home, hard to look past. Bulldogs by 8.

 

SQUADS

Bulldogs: 1. William Hopoate 2. Kerrod Holland 3. Josh Morris 4. Brenko Lee 5. Brett Morris 6. Matt Frawley 7. Moses Mbye 8. Aiden Tolman 9. Michael Lichaa 10. James Graham 11. Josh Jackson 12. Greg Eastwood 13. David Klemmer 14. Sam Kasiano 15. Danny Fualalo 16. Adam Elliot 17. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 19. Reimis Smith 20. Marcelo Montoya 21. Brad Abbey 23. Craig Garvey

Cowboys team: 1. Lachlan Coote 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Justin O’Neill 4. Kane Linnett 5. Antonio Winterstein 6. Michael Morgan 7. Ray Thompson 8. John Asiata 9. Jake Granville 10. Scott Bolton 11. Gavin Cooper 12. Ethan Lowe 13. Jason Taumalolo 14. Ben Hampton 15. Coen Hess 16. Shaun Fensom 17. Ben Spina 18. Corey Jensen 19. Blake Leary 20. Kyle Laybutt 21. Kalyn Ponga