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NRL GRAND FINAL QUALIFIER: Sydney Roosters v North Queensland Cowboys

With just one game between them and the 2017 grand final, the Sydney Roosters host the North Queensland Cowboys at Allianz Stadium on Saturday evening. Both teams will be playing at their best, which will undoubtedly make the match an entertaining one.

Last Time Out

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The Roosters had the second week of the finals off as a result of a top four finish and a win in the first week, when they beat the Brisbane Broncos in a most unimpressive manner, but a win is a win. The Roosters were relatively dominant in the first half hour before the Broncos clicked and took control of the match. It was a late try to Latrell Mitchell that won the match for the Roosters. The Broncos were unlucky to lose, although they convincingly won the following week against the Panthers. The Roosters completed at 79 per cent, which needs to improve against the Cowboys, who have been completing at eighty and higher in recent weeks. The home side managed to concede few penalties which assisted with their eventual win two Fridays ago. Can they improve and beat the Cowboys to get to the grand final?

Despite a loss in round 26, the North Queensland Cowboys have been on fire in the finals, beating reigning premiers Cronulla in an elimination final at Allianz in week one. The following Saturday they dominated the Parramatta Eels at ANZ Stadium. They completed at 85 per cent compared to the Eels’ 74. It was a surprise to many, especially as the Eels had finished top four while the Cowboys just managed to make the finals. Jason Taumalolo had another dominant display for the Cowboys, and was heroic in their victory against the Eels. Can he do it again against the Roosters, and get his side into their second grand final in three seasons?

Jake Granville and Jake Friend – the number nines for the Roosters and the Cowboys – will be important in the fight for a grand final spot. Both players have been significant for their teams and hopefully Saturday night is no different. The number nine is important to control the team and keep them composed, and Granville and Friend are no different in their approach to their team and to the game. While there are numerous important players for each side, the hooker is undoubtedly one of the most important positions on the field, and both Granville and Friend will up the ante on Saturday night.

Prediction

It’ll be a tough and entertaining match as they both fight for the grand final. Both sides have a lot in their favour, and it’s lucky the Roosters have the game at their home stadium, which could be the extra advantage they need. As for the Cowboys, to only just make the finals series and be so close to the big game is an impressive effort from them, as it shows their commitment, dedication and determination not to throw away the season. It will be a great game to watch, and undoubtedly will be a very, very close match.

Roosters by two.

Squads

Sydney Roosters

1. Michael Gordon 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Latrell Mitchell 4. Mitchell Aubusson 5. Blake Ferguson 6. Luke Keary 7. Mitchell Pearce 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Jake Friend 10. Dylan Napa 11. Boyd Cordner 12. Aidan Guerra 13. Isaac Liu 14. Ryan Matterson 15. Sio Siua Taukeiaho 16. Zane Tetevano 17. Connor Watson 18. Kane Evans 19. Victor Radley 20. Joseph Manu 22. Mitchell Cornish

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. Corey Jensen 17. Shaun Fensom 18. Ray Thompson 19. Javid Bowen 20. Braeden Uele 21. Matthew Scott

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