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2021 NRL Round Two Preview, Cowboys Vs Dragons

Craig Cauchi previews the clash between Cowboys and Dragons. This is what we have to look forward to.

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TEAM NEWS

Venue: Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Date: 20/03/21, Time: 6:35pm (local)

North Queensland Cowboys

  1. Scott Drinkwater
  2. Kyle Feldt
  3. Esan Marsters
  4. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow
  5. Valentine Holmes
  6. Michael Morgan
  7. Jake Clifford
  8. Francis Molo
  9. Reece Robson
  10. Jordan McLean
  11. Mitchell Dunn
  12. Coen Hess
  13. Jason Taumalolo*
  14. Jake Granville
  15. Josh McGuire
  16. Corey Jensen
  17. Reuben Cotter
  18. Lachlan Burr
  19. Shane Wright
  20. Murray Taulagi
  21. Ben Hampton

Team Changes

IN: Ben Hampton, Lachlan Burr, Murray Taulagi, Shane Wright
OUT: Jason Taumalolo* (ruled out on Thursday)

St George Illawarra Dragons

  1. Matthew Dufty
  2. Cody Ramsey
  3. Jack Bird
  4. Zac Lomax
  5. Mikaele Ravalawa
  6. Corey Norman
  7. Ben Hunt
  8. Blake Lawrie
  9. Andrew McCullough
  10. Paul Vaughan
  11. Josh Kerr
  12. Tariq Sims
  13. Tyrell Fuimaono
  14. Poasa Faamausili
  15. Trent Merrin
  16. Daniel Alvaro
  17. Brayden Wiliame
  18. Adam Clune
  19. Kaide Ellis
  20. Jackson Ford
  21. Jordan Pereira

Team Changes

IN: Corey Norman, Jackson Ford, Jordan Pereira, Kaide Ellis
OUT: nil

Referee: Ben Cummins

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

North Queensland Cowboys

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The Cowboys performance came under heavy criticism from their new coach Todd Payten. They failed to fire a shot against Penrith and were lucky not to be on the end of a bigger score line.

St George Illawarra Dragons

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The Dragons put behind a sluggish first half performance to come out with much more aggression in the second half. It still wasn’t enough and as decisions started going against them, they dropped their heads and leaked two simple tries to lose grip on the contest.

PREVIEW

Both sides are searching for confidence heading into the new season with the pressure on both sides to perform. Can the Cowboys kick off their season with a win at home? Or will the Dragons shake off their travelling woes?

Jason Taumalolo is a massive out for the home side, but there is a lot more from their performance last week that they’ll be looking to improve on. The Cowboys have a great record at home against the Dragons and have the attacking prowess to score points. Their defence ensured that the Panthers didn’t rack up a cricket score but it took far too much energy out of their attack. The focus will need to be on completing sets and getting the fundamentals right.

The Dragons welcome back Corey Norman from a one match suspension. All eyes will be on his performance with fellow half Ben Hunt. Since joining the club his combination with the new captain has failed to set off and much has been spoken about linking up with Anthony Griffin and Andrew McCullough. This is the kind of match that top quality halves should be able to control and if they want to deliver the Dragons a finals spot then they need to step up.

KEY STAT

The Cowboys beat the Dragons last year off the back of a strong performance from Valentine Holmes. The performance from both teams epitomised their seasons – with the Cowboys only putting it together for certain periods and the Dragons failing to maintain control of the game.

PREDICTION

Expect both sides to bring their inconsistent best. There’ll be moments in this match of lovely attack but there will be moments of frustration too. I expect the Cowboys to come over the top in front of their home fans.

Cowboys by 10. 

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