PREVIEW | North Queensland Cowboys vs New Zealand Warriors

The North Queensland Cowboys are going head to head with the New Zealand Warriors on Friday night in Townsville.

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Just when we began to think the Cowboys were turning a corner after their impressive in against the Cowboys in round 13, they suffered an embarrassing 20-14 loss to the Parramatta Eels who are currently sitting at the bottom of the table. Each team scored a try in the first half, but it was the second half where the opposition clearly wanted it more and dominated while scoring three tries. The Cowboys made a comeback in the remaining two minutes of the match crossing the line twice but it was too little too late.


The Warriors seem to be back on track after their 34-14 defeat over Manly in Christchurch on Saturday night. Although Manly put points on the board first with a try and penalty goal, the Warriors dominated the rest of the game only allowing manly to get back into the game in the remaining 10 minutes. Shaun Johnson’s return introduced some of that spark back into the squad which has been missing for the past few weeks. David Fusitua also had an impressive game as he scored three tries within nine minutes leaving Manly with no hope of reclaiming the win.

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Maroons star Michael Morgan returns from a groin injury at fullback and Lachlan Coote drops out. Kane Linnett moves into the starting side at the expense of Justin O’Neill, who is 18th man. On the wing, Javid Bowen has come in and Antonio Winterstein is out of the side. Origin forwards Gavin Cooper and Coen Hess have been named in the starting side after coming off the bench against the Eels. Scott Bolton has also been named to return from a rib injury.


Captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck has been named to return from an ankle injury at fullback with Peta Hiku returning to the centres after filling in at No.1 last weekend. Gerard Beale drops out of the 17.


Both teams have had their ups and downs this season. The Warriors don’t have the best record in Townsville but if they want it bad enough they can definitely make it happen against the hot-and-cold Cowboys side. The Warriors have a fighting chance if their forwards can do their job and make some room for Tuivasa-sheck, Johnson and try scoring machine Fusitu’a.

On paper, the Cowboys should be a force to be reckoned with but for some reason the talent is not transferring into chemistry on the field. Round 13 proved they do have what it takes to be a strong team. To take the win they will have to come out with the right attitude and rely on their forward pack to allow their playmakers like Thurston to turn their hard work into points on the board.

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The Warriors have lost 11 of their past 12 games at 1300SMILES Stadium.



1 Michael Morgan, 2 Kyle Feldt, 3 Enari Tuala, 4 Kane Linnett, 5 Javid Bowen, 6 Te Maire Martin, 7 Johnathan Thurston (c), 8 Matthew Scott (c), 9 Jake Granville, 10 Scott Bolton, 11 Gavin Cooper, 12 Coen Hess, 13 Jason Taumalolo Interchange: 14 Ben Hampton, 15 Shaun Fensom, 16 Corey Jensen, 17 Sam Hoare Reserves: 18 Justin O’Neill, 19 Ethan Lowe, 20 Mitchell Dunn, 21 Francis Molo


1 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, 2 David Fusitu’a, 3 Peta Hiku, 4 Solomone Kata, 5 Ken Maumalo, 6 Blake Green, 7 Shaun Johnson, 8 James Gavet, 9 Issac Luke, 10 Agnatius Paasi, 11 Isaiah Papali’i, 12 Tohu Harris, 13 Adam Blair interchange: 14 Karl Lawton, 15 Chris Satae, 16 Bunty Afoa, 17 Simon Mannering Reserves: 18 Gerard Beale, 19 Mason Lino, 20 Liligiifo Sao, 21 Anthony Gelling


Date: Friday June 15, 2018
Venue: 1300SMILES Stadium, Townsville
Kick-off: 6pm (local), 8pm NZT


The Warriors seem to have gained their mojo back and will be looking to break their Townsville curse.

Warriors by 14

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