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2021 NRL Round Three Preview, Cowboys Vs Titans

Todd Warren previews another Queensland derby as the Cowboys face off against the Titans in Townsville.

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TEAM NEWS

Venue: Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Date: Sunday March 28, Time: 5:15pm

Cowboys Team

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

Team Changes

IN: Murray Taulagi
OUT: Kyle Feldt

Titans Team

  1. AJ Brimson
  2. Anthony Don
  3. Phillip Sami
  4. Patrick Herbert
  5. Corey Thompson
  6. Tanah Boyd
  7. Jamal Fogarty (c)
  8. Jarrod Wallace
  9. Mitch Rein
  10. Moeaki Fotuaika
  11. Kevin Proctor
  12. David Fifita
  13. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui
  14. Tyrone Peachey
  15. Sam Lisone
  16. Jaimin Jolliffe
  17. Erin Clark
  18. Beau Fermor
  19. Herman Ese’ese
  20. Sam McIntyre
  21. Sam Stone

Team Changes

IN: Tanah Boyd
OUT:
Ash Taylor

Referee: Peter Gough

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Cowboys

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Kyle Feldt copped two weeks on the sideline for his tackle on Jack Bird last week, and Murray Taulagi takes his place on the wing. Reuben Cotter is still at lock with Josh McGuire named on the bench as an impact player. Coen Hess is on a light training schedule after a burner against the Dragons but is expected to play.

To be honest, I forgot how bad the Cowboys have been until I looked up how they’ve gone since the start of last season. They started 2020 pretty well, with two wins from their first three games, but apart from that their only wins came against the Knights, Broncos and a Golden Point win over the Dragons. That’s five wins from their last 22 games and they’re winless in 2021.

They looked a bit better against the Dragons, but St George Illawarra were simply too strong and ran over the top of them.

Titans

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Ash Taylor is out a few weeks and joins Brian Kelly on the sidelines. Tanah Boyd comes in at halfback while Philip Sami starts at centre again.

The Titans finally seemed to click against the Broncos last week, with a two-try performance from David Fifita to give them a 28-16 win. They still made lots of errors though, so will need to get that out of their game before we get too far into the season.

PREVIEW

While the Titans have had a lot of errors through the first two rounds, there is a team that has had more and that is the Cowboys. The Cowboys missed Jason Taumalolo last week: not just his impact but also his experience in the forward pack. Kyle Feldt is also a big loss. I might be in the minority here, but I rate Feldt as one of the best wingers in the NRL and his kick-offs can cause havoc to opposing teams when they don’t sail out on the full.

Ash Taylor being out is unfortunate as he’s definitely getting over the patchy form he’s had over the last few seasons. It’s a big test for Tanah Boyd, but Jamal Fogarty will likely lead the team around anyway. If Fifita keeps up his form from last week it could get ugly for the Cowboys, and big Tino Fa’asuamaleaui will be damaging in the middle of the field. I can see a lot of bombs going out to Anthony Don on the wing, lined up against Valentine Holmes, but that’s been a big part of the Titans’ game plan the last few years. Tyrone Peachey has started the season very well off the bench and will no doubt trouble the tired Cowboys forwards at the back end of the half.

KEY STAT

Apart from round 13 last season, which the Titans won 30-10, the Cowboys had beat the Titans 10 times in a row.

PREDICTION

Sorry, Cowboys fans.

Titans by 18.

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