North Queensland Cowboys’ season is on the line when they host the red hot South Sydney Rabbitohs at 1300 Smiles Stadium on Saturday night. The Cowboys know they can’t afford too many more losses if they still harbour thoughts of making the finals.
TEAM FORM GUIDE
North Queensland Cowboys
North Queensland seemed to have turned the corner two weeks ago when they beat the high-flying Panthers at Bathurst, but after a difficult week caused by the Scott Bolton scandal last years’ runners up were flat against the Tigers at Leichhardt Oval on Thursday night. Having won two and lost two of their last four outings the men from Townsville have threatened to get their season back on track, only to disappoint the following week.
South Sydney Rabbitohs
South Sydney are the side everyone is talking about this season with the famous Red and Green producing some impressive performances after starting the season with two losses. Since then the Rabbitohs have been in superb form culminating in last weeks’ victory over the competition leaders St. George Illawarra, this victory was possibly the best performance from South Sydney since their Grand Final winning year of 2014.
North Queensland Cowboys
Despite threatening to make changes to his squad Paul Green has stuck solid with the tried and tested members of the side who have brought success over the years, despite looking slow and un-threatening in attack Green has resisted from bringing in young players such as Enari Tuala or Javed Bowen.
South Sydney Rabbitohs
South Sydney are also unchanged from last week not surprisingly after their outstanding performance. With first choice wingers Richie Kennar and Robert Jennings still injured Campbell Graham and Hymel Hunt retain their spots, whilst Adam Doueihi keeps his spot on the bench after being a late replacement for Mark Nicholls.
Before a ball was kicked this season most pundits had the Cowboys as serious premiership contenders whilst most expected the Rabbitohs to again struggle after returning a similar roster to last year, but as we head into Round 11 it’s the Rabbitohs contending and the Cowboys floundering near the bottom of the table.
The big addition to Souths’ lineup hasn’t been on the field but in the coaches box with new boss Anthony Seibold making the necessary adjustments to the side to have them firing on all cylinders. The shackles are off in attack which has suited the Bunnies who are now an attacking force especially down their left side where John Sutton, Greg Inglis and Robert Jennings have wreaked havoc.
The Cowboys will have to be wary of the Bunnies left side attack especially after they struggled down that side of the field against the Tigers, whilst he has been a rare shining light in attack Ben Hampton has struggled making the right reads in defence, be sure Souths will have identified this weakness and will attack Hampton frequently.
With Jonathan Thurston trying his heart out every week he needs some help from his team mates, especially his forwards who despite coming into the season with huge wraps, have rarely dominated any side and more often than not have been out muscled themselves. If the Cowboys are to cause an upset they’ll need their big men to win the battle against the Burgess boys, if they don’t it could be another long night in Townsville for the local fans.
North Queensland have won eight of the last nine match ups between the two sides.
Cowboys: 1 Lachlan Coote, 2 Kyle Feldt, 3 Justin O’Neill, 4 Ben Hampton, 5 Antonio Winterstein, 6 Michael Morgan, 7 Johnathan Thurston (c), 8 Matthew Scott (c), 9 Jake Granville, 10 Scott Bolton, 11 Gavin Cooper, 12 Coen Hess, 13 Jason Taumalolo, 14 Te Maire Martin, 15 Shaun Fensom, 16 Corey Jensen, 17 Ethan Lowe, 18 Francis Molo, 19 Jake Clifford, 20 Javid Bowen, 21 Enari Tuala
Rabbitohs: 1 Alex Johnston, 2 Campbell Graham, 3 Greg Inglis (c), 4 Dane Gagai, 5 Hymel Hunt, 6 Cody Walker, 7 Adam Reynolds, 8 Thomas Burgess, 9 Damien Cook, 10 George Burgess, 11 John Sutton, 12 Angus Crichton, 13 Sam Burgess, 14 Cameron Murray, 15 Adam Doueihi, 16 Jason Clark, 17 Tevita Tatola, 18 Robbie Farah, 19 Mark Nicholls, 20 Braidon Burns, 21 Kyle Turner
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Saturday May 19th
Venue: 1300 Smiles Stadium, Townsville
WHO WILL WIN?
All the form going into this games tells you it’s Souths who will win and win well, but as this season has shown form goes out the window most weeks with sides struggling to back up good performances for consecutive weeks. Despite this expect the form to show true and Souths to win 1-12.
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