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2021 NRL Round Five Preview, Tigers Vs Cowboys

Todd Warren previews a battle between two bottom four teams as both are desperate for a win.

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TEAM NEWS

Venue: Leichhardt Oval, Date: 11/4, Time: 4:05pm

Tigers Team

  1. Daine Laurie
  2. David Nofoaluma
  3. James Roberts
  4. Moses Mbye
  5. Tommy Talau
  6. Adam Doueihi
  7. Luke Brooks
  8. Zane Musgrove
  9. Jacob Liddle
  10. James Tamou (c)
  11. Luke Garner
  12. Luciano Leilua
  13. Alex Twal
  14. Michael Chee-Kam
  15. Thomas Mikaele
  16. Stefano Utoikamanu
  17. Joe Ofahengauae
  18. Alex Seyfarth
  19. Joseph Leilua
  20. Jake Simpkin
  21. Tukimihia Simpkins

Team Changes

IN: Tukimihia Simpkins, Jake Simpkin
OUT: Asu Kepaoa, Russel Packer

Cowboys Team

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

Team Changes

IN: Kyle Feldt, Jason Taumalolo
OUT:
Justin O’Neill, Griffin Neame

Referee: Matt Cecchin

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Tigers

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Moses Mbye starts in the centres with James Roberts shifting to the other side. Michael Chee-Kam plays off the bench. The Tigers have only won one game this season but didn’t look too bad against an in-form Eels side last week. Luke Brooks won’t be wearing the number seven jersey in honour of the late Tommy Raudonikis, and neither will Ben Hampton from the Cowboys.

Cowboys

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Jason Taumalolo returns to the starting lock position with Josh McGuire moving to the bench. Kyle Feldt returns from suspension to take his place on the wing. I can’t think of anything nice to say about the Cowboys. They’ve been awful all season and the worst Queensland team so far. To be honest it’s hard to see where the improvement will actually come from in this Cowboys side, but Taumalolo will help a lot if he can get back to his form from previous years.

PREVIEW

Jason Taumalolo returns to the starting lock position with Josh McGuire moving to the bench. Kyle Feldt returns from suspension to take his place on the wing. I can’t think of anything nice to say about the Cowboys. They’ve been awful all season and the worst Queensland team so far. To be honest it’s hard to see where the improvement will actually come from in this Cowboys side, but Taumalolo will help a lot if he can get back to his form from previous years.

PREVIEW

This is hard to say as a proud Queenslander, but there isn’t a lot to like about the Cowboys so far in 2021 (they’ve won three games from their last 20). They have had some terrible luck with injuries compounded by Michael Morgan being forced into retirement this week, and they haven’t looked too crash hot in any other ways either. Who knows if Taumalolo coming back will make much of a difference? The role he seems to be playing makes him a shadow of the player once considered one of the best forwards in the game. 

The Tigers haven’t been fantastic either, but with one win in 2021 they are in a much better position than the Cowboys. Moving Mbye to starting centre is probably a good move, especially with the former Origin rep fighting for a contract. We’re still waiting to see James Roberts fire, but he looked better against the Eels last week. Luciano Leilua has had his issues but is doing much more good than bad and is part of a much better forward pack. The Tigers also have more upside in their backline. Hard to see the Cowboys turning it around this week especially with coaching doubts and apparent rifts in the playing group.

 

KEY STAT

The Tigers have won the last four of these fixtures and seven of the last 10. The Cowboys haven’t won at a Tigers home game since 2017.

PREDICTION

My prediction is that this game will be hard to watch, but I think the Tigers will win. Cowboys are in trouble and need to do something, but it’s hard to see them turning things around after the thumping they got last week.

Tigers by 14. 

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