Todd Warren previews Cowboys vs Knights in a Saturday afternoon game from Townsville.
North Queensland Cowboys
North Queensland are struggling. There hasn’t been too much good news for them so far in 2020 with injuries to key players meaning that their only two wins this season were against the Bulldogs and the Titans, who are the bottom two teams on the ladder. They’re on a three game losing streak after double digit losses to the Tigers, Warriors and Sharks, who are all also in the bottom eight.
Newcastle have been great in 2020 and currently sit second on the ladder with their only loss coming against Melbourne and a thrilling golden point draw against Penrith. They were impressive last week as they pumped a struggling Broncos.
North Queensland Cowboys
Jordan McLean is a possible late change but probably won’t play. Cotter replaces Jensen on the bench.
1. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Justin O’Neill 4. Esan Marsters 5. Connelly Lemuele 6. Scott Drinkwater 7. Jake Clifford 8. Josh McGuire 9. Reece Robson 10. Francis Molo 11. Mitchell Dunn 12. Coen Hess 13. Jason Taumalolo (c) 14. Ben Hampton 15. Gavin Cooper 16. Peter Hola 17. Reuben Cotter
Bradman Best is out after breaching COVID protocols. He’s replaced in the centres by Enari Tuala.
1. Kalyn Ponga 2. Edrick Lee 3. Enari Tuala 4. Gehamat Shibasaki 5. Hymel Hunt 6. Kurt Mann 7. Mitchell Pearce (c) 8. David Klemmer 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Daniel Saifiti 11. Lachlan Fitzgibbon 12. Sione Mata’utai 13. Tim Glasby 14. Tex Hoy 15. Jacob Saifiti 16. Herman Ese’ese 17. Aidan Guerra
Pretty even the last few seasons with the Cowboys winning six of the last ten. The Cowboys have won the last three matches when played in North Queensland and Newcastle have only won two games in Townsville since 2009. The weather will be a bit chilly this weekend which will probably suit the Knights.
BATTLE TO WATCH
There’s only one battle to get me excited this week and it’s gotta be Josh McGuire vs David Klemmer. They are near dead even in run metres, post contact metres, total runs, tackle breaks and tackle efficiency, with Klemmer having a few more offloads. While it’s an even match up in the stats, these guys are going to run hard at each other all night. Both are Origin forwards from their respective states and will be looking to get one over their opposite number.
Look, I’m a Queenslander so I want to see the Cowboys get up, but the Knights have been great to watch after a tough few years of rebuilding. They have a really good team made up of a mix of young talented local kids as well as players with rep experience all over the park.
Knights by 18
Date: Saturday June 27
Venue: Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Townsville