As the final fixture on Super Saturday, the North Queensland Cowboys host the Cronulla Sharks at 1300 SMILES Stadium. It will be their second last home game for the season before the commencement of the finals series. Both sides are looking desperately towards a better position on the NRL ladder as they head into the finals series for the 2017 season.

Last Time Out

The North Queensland Cowboys struggled against the Penrith Panthers at Pepper Stadium last Saturday evening at the hands of a dominant performance from Panthers’ halfback. The Cowboys opened up the scoring in the opening ten minutes of the match, before letting the Panthers score in the twenty-second minute. One more try was scored in the second half, and that was by Michael Morgan. The Cowboys were similar in opening the scoring during the second half, however after this try, they were not seen for the rest of the match, and allowed the Panthers to dominate the performance. While statistically the Cowboys were better in certain aspects of the match, the Panthers were the ones who managed to score the most points and ultimately walk away from the match two-points richer, sneaking them further up the ladder into sixth position where they currently sit. The Cowboys are sitting in eighth position on the ladder, with only a win’s difference between them and the Dragons who are in ninth. Needless to say this win would be extremely important for the North Queensland Cowboys.

The Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks suffered a dreadful loss against the Brisbane Broncos last Friday night at Suncorp Stadium. Hoping to win as an additional celebration to Gallen’s 300th game, the Sharks were quite poor in their performance, making them unsuccessful in Brisbane, and left them sitting just inside the top four on the ladder. The victory would have been important for them to cement their position on the ladder, however they lacked a lot of determination in both attack and defence, which spoiled the captain’s 300th first grade match. They completed at only 61%, making a baffling sixteen errors, which was a critical aspect of their loss to the Broncos, who were able to claim second position on the ladder. The Sharks are looking to reclaim and cement their spot in the top four in order to have a better chance in the finals, and their loss against the Broncos did not help; however if they win this weekend against the Cowboys, it will be extremely important to their surge to September.

Key Battle

Fullbacks Lachlan Coote and Valentine Holmes. Both players have been important in their teams’ successes this season, and will be important in this match. Both Coote and Holmes are strong players in both attack and defence for their teams, and have enhanced the overall performances of the Sharks and the Cowboys. Overall, the fullbacks of both sides will be of paramount importance to their sides, and can have a strong impact on the outcome of the match on Saturday night.

The outcomes of this match will be important to both sides who are looking to cement their spot in the top eight of the NRL ladder. It is at the Cowboys’ home match which gives them a strong advantage, however their lineup is constantly changing due to injuries. The Sharks have been struggling throughout the last few weeks of the season, however their lineup is still strong. It will be a close and entertaining match at 1300 SMILES Stadium on Saturday evening. Sharks by 2.

SQUADS

North Queensland Cowboys

1. Lachlan Coote 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Javid Bowen 4. Kane Linnett 5. Kalyn Pnga 6. Te Maire Martin 7. Michael Morgan 8. John Asiata 9. Jake Granville 10. Scott Bolton 11. Coen Hess 12. Ethan Lowe 13. Jason Taumalolo 14. Ben Hampton 15. Patrick Mago 16. Corey Jensen 17. Sam Hoare 18. Braden Uele 19. Kyle Laybutt 20. Enari Tuala 21. Shane Wright

Cronulla Sharks

1. Valentine Holmes 2. Sosaia Feki 3. Kurt Capewell 4. Ricky Leutele 5. Gerard Beale 6. James Maloney 7. Chad Townsend 8. Andrew Fifita 9. Fa’amanu Brown 10. Matt Prior 11. Luke Lewis 12. Wade Graham 13. Paul Gallen 14. Jayson Bukuya 15. Sam Tagataese 16. Jeremy Latimore 17. James Segeyaro 18. Chris Heighington 19. Joseph Paulo 20. Jayden Brailey 21. Jesse Ramien