Preview: South Sydney Rabbitohs v North Queensland Cowboys

To finish Round 19 of the NRL Telstra Premiership, the South Sydney Rabbitohs will be hosting the North Queensland Cowboys in a home away from home match to be played at Barlow Park in Queensland on Sunday afternoon.

Last Time Out

The South Sydney Rabbitohs were hosted by the Sydney Roosters at Allianz Stadium last Friday in an awfully close encounter, where the home team won by only a two point margin. The Rabbitohs were given a big chance heading into the match, considering the amount of Origin players that the Roosters had to leave out of their roster for the match. It was an even game, with one side scoring, then the other, up until the end of the match. It was a Michael Gordon penalty goal in the first half that allowed the Roosters to maintain the lead in the match, which left the Rabbitohs without two extra competition points that could have pushed them further up the ladder in their surge towards the top eight by the end of the twenty-sixth round just around the corner. It was a lucky win for the Roosters, given that statistically, both sides were even throughout the match in completion rates and attacking plays.

The North Queensland Cowboys were gifted with a bye a week out from Origin, and their last game was in Round 17 against the Canberra Raiders at GIO Stadium on a chilly Saturday night. The North Queensland Cowboys are used to heat and humidity, and when going down to Canberra where it can often fall below zero, the Cowboys weren’t given the greatest chance to win the match. However, the chill of GIO Stadium didn’t stop them, when they were able to walk all over their opposition, winning 31 points to 18. The Cowboys were significantly dominant in the match, completing at a much higher rate, scoring more tries, and ultimately having the edge in both attack and defence throughout the entire game. The Raiders looked ill disciplined, and made almost double the errors that the Cowboys did, making it easier for the North Queensland side to capitalise, and to gain momentum which they were able to carry throughout the entire eighty minutes.

Key Battle

The halves for both sides. Sutton and Reynolds versus Martin and Morgan. The Rabbitohs have struggled had an up and down season, and the halves are doing what they can to assist the team as they work towards a top eight finish (which at the moment seems too far off). The Cowboys have lost their crucial player in Thurston, however have managed to find a strong player in Te Maire Martin, who has departed from the Penrith Panthers mid season. He made his debut for the club in round seventeen and did a great job. Michael Morgan has always been one of the top quality players for the club. The halves partnerships in both the Rabbitohs and the Cowboys are of quality, and will make for an interesting battle on Sunday afternoon.

Prediction

While it is a Rabbitohs’ home match (…in Queensland), the Cowboys outfit will most likely be just too strong for them, given their success this season. It will be an entertaining match, and may be close, however it is most likely that the Cowboys will just get there if it is close. Cowboys by 6.

Squads

South Sydney Rabbitohs

1. Cody Walker 2. Alex Johnston 3. Bryson Goodwin 4. Robert Jennings 5. Aaron Gray 6. John Sutton 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Thomas Burgess. 9. Robbie Farah 10. David Tyrrell 11. Tyrell Fuimaono 12. Angus Crichton 13. Sam Burgess 14. Damien Cook 15. Jason Clark 16. Zane Musgrove 17. George Burgess 18. Anthony Cherrington 19. Kyle Turner 20. Jack Gosiewski 21. Cameron Murray

North Queensland Cowboys

1. Lachlan Coote 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Justin O’Neill 4. Kane Linnett 5. Antonio Winterstein 6. Te Maire Martin 7. Michael Morgan 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. Corey Jensen 18. Patrick Mago 19. Kyle Laybutt 20. Kalyn Ponga 21. Braden Uele 22. Javid Bowen