MATCH PREVIEW | North Queensland Cowboys vs Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs

Todd Warren previews the final clash at 1300SMILES Stadium.



Firmly out of finals contention, the Cowboys will be looking to win this to put on a show for their home crowd before moving onto their new stadium next season. They broke a five game losing streak last round against the Panthers and have only won two of their last 10.

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After being favourites for the Wooden Spoon at the start of the season the Bulldogs have been on an absolute tear at the back end. They are amazingly still a (very) slim chance of making the top eight if a lot of things go their way but one thing for sure is that they need to win their remaining games. They’ve won four in a row and six of their last 10. Their last two wins have been against high quality opposition, with a 14-6 victory over Souths in Round 22 and a hard fought 12-6 win over the Eels last week.

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Cowboys name the same 17 that upset the Panthers last week. Scott Bolton starts at prop but will wear jersey number 16 as the Cowboys retire Matt Scotts’ number 8 jersey as he is sadly unable to play due to his medical concerns.

Cowboys team list:

1. Scott Drinkwater
2. Kyle Feldt
3. Jordan Kahu
4. Top Opacic
5. Murray Taulagi
6. John Asiata
7. Michael Morgan (c)
16. Scott Bolton
9. Jake Granville
10. Jordan McLean
11. Gavin Cooper
12. Shane Wright
13. Jason Taumalolo
14. Reuben Cotter
15. Coen Hess
17. Francis Molo
18. Peter Hola


Only one change from last week as Jayden Okunbor starts on the wing for the suspended Remis Smith.

Bulldogs team list:

1. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak
2. Nick Meaney
3. Kerrod Holland
4. Will Hopoate
5. Jayden Okunbor
6. Keiran Foran
7. Lachlan Lewis
8. Aiden Tolman
9. Jeremy Marshall-King
10. Dylan Napa
11. Josh Jackson (c)
12. Corey Harawira-Naera
13. Adam Elliot
14. Jack Cogger
15. Renouf Toomaga
16. Raymond Faitala-Mariner
17. Chris Smith


The Bulldogs got a big 24-12 win back in Round seven but the teams have been quite evenly matched over the last few years, with the Cowboys winning six of their last 10 but only two of the last six when playing at home.


Both arriving at their clubs mid season, both have been great additions. Scott Drinkwater came up from the Storm chasing a shot at his favoured position and a regular first grade spot. Since arriving he’s been a great asset for the Cowboys and offered them another point of attack with three tries, two try assists, three line breaks, four forced dropouts and 23 tackle busts in his eight matches.

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On the other side we have Dallin Watene-Zelezniak who debuted for the Bulldogs in Round 14 after being released by the Panthers. He moved to the Dogs with no promises of playing the position that he captained his country from, however eight of his last nine games at the Bulldogs have been at fullback and they have won six of those games. He offers a lot in both attack and defence and maybe the change in scenery is just what he needed to get him back into form.

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Date: Thursday 29th August
Venue: 1300SMILES Stadium, North Queensland
Kick-off: 7:50pm
Referee: Chris Sutton, Belinda Sharpe


Another tough one to pick, but on current form it’s hard to tip against the Bulldogs as they have all the momentum and everything to play for. Bulldogs by 10.


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