The Roosters will be fighting to secure a Top 2 spot and put themselves in contention for the minor premiership while the Cowboys can state their case for a Top 4 finish in a game that could have big ramifications for the finals.

Last Time Out

The Roosters didn’t let the absence of several key members of their team stop them from recording a comfortable win against the Knights 28-4. The departing Connor Watson made a successful debut in the fullback position against the team he’ll join in 2018 whilst Isaac Liu celebrated his 100th game for the Roosters with a rare try.

The Knights put up a good fight and gave it a go as they do every week, however the Roosters did benefit from playing against a lower quality of opposition. This might have masked just how much they missed from having some of their mainstays absent.

The Cowboys prevailed in a fairly sloppy affair against the Warriors. Overcoming a sluggish start to the game, the Cowboys took their luck while the Warriors rued theirs. The scores were level at half-time at 12 apiece. The bounce of the ball had favoured the Cowboys with a deflected kick from Granville on the goal-line finding Bowen in empty space while Kieran Foran bombed a certain try early in the 2nd half.

The 24-12 scoreline was inflated by a late runaway try from Javid Bowen who pounced on an error in the final minute of the contest to bag his 2nd try. Possession was split at 50% and both teams coughed up their fair share of the ball. It wasn’t the prettiest of wins for the Cowboys but they got the 2 points which was all that mattered.

Key Battle

The halves battle. The pair of Keary and Pearce managed to keep the game firmly in their control despite the absence of Jake Friend last week. As long as the forwards keep making their metres and new dummy half Victor Radley delivers his halves good service, Keary and Pearce will have their chances to break the game open for the Roosters.

At the Cowboys, the pairing of Martin and Morgan is finally starting to come together. Morgan’s kicking game has improved tenfold since his shift to halfback and becoming the main playmaker for the Cowboys. He’ll need to be at his best with the boot to guide them to victory while Martin will need to take some of the pressure off his halfback as the Roosters will surely look to limit Morgan’s influence.

Prediction 

The Roosters will face a tougher test without Gordon and Friend coming up against the Cowboys. The flaws in their defence in the middle and on the goal-line are more likely to be exposed coming up against a Top 4 quality side. It should be a tight contest but with the Cowboys having a more settled line-up, I think the class of Michael Morgan should see him produce some magic and get the Cowboys home. Cowboys by 2+

Squads
Sydney Roosters
1. Connor Watson
2. Daniel Tupou
3. Latrell Mitchell
4. Joseph Manu
5. Blake Ferguson
6. Luke Keary
7. Mitchell Pearce
8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves ©
9. Victor Radley
10. Dylan Napa
11. Ryan Matterson
12. Mitchell Aubusson ©
13. Isaac Liu
Interchange:
14. Zane Tetevano
15. Sio Suia Taukeiaho
16. Aidan Guerra
17. Mitchell Cornish
Reserves:
18. Kane Evans
19. Jayden Nikorima
20. Chris Smith
21. Nat Butcher

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
Interchange:
14. Ben Hampton
15. Coen Hess
16. Shaun Fensom
17. Corey Jensen
Reserves:
18. Braden Uele
19. Kalyn Ponga
20. Patrick Mago
21. Javid Bowen