2021 NRL Round Seven Preview, Cowboys Vs Raiders

Joshua Knox previews the North Queensland Cowboys taking on the Canberra Raiders on Saturday night.

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Venue: Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Townsville, Date: Saturday April 24, Time: 7:35pm

Cowboys Team

  1. Valentine Holmes
  2. Kyle Feldt
  3. Justin O’Neill
  4. Connelly Lemuelu
  5. Murray Taulagi
  6. Scott Drinkwater
  7. Ben Hampton
  8. Coen Hess
  9. Reece Robson
  10. Jordan McLean
  11. Shane Wright
  12. Ben Condon
  13. Lachlan Burr
  14. Jake Granville
  15. Mitchell Dunn
  16. Francis Molo
  17. Corey Jensen
  18. Esan Marsters
  19. Peter Hola
  20. Jake Clifford
  21. Tom Gilbert

Team Changes

IN: Esan Marsters
Peter Hola
Tom Gilbert


Raiders Team

  1. Caleb Aekins
  2. Sebastian Kris
  3. Jarrod Croker
  4. Curtis Scott
  5. Jordan Rapana
  6. Jack Wighton
  7. George Williams
  8. Ryan James
  9. Tom Starling
  10. Emre Guler
  11. Hudson Young
  12. Elliott Whitehead
  13. Ryan Sutton
  14. Siliva Havili
  15. Corey Harawira-Naera
  16. Corey Horsburgh
  17. Josh Papalii
  18. Matthew Timoko
  19. Iosia Soliola
  20. Matt Frawley
  21. Joseph Tapine

Team Changes

IN: Corey Harawira-Naera
Corey Horsburgh
Matt Frawley
Matthew Timoko
Ryan James

Bailey Simonsson
Josh Hodgson

Referee: Peter Gough



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The Cowboys will enter this clash with immense confidence off the back of two consecutive wins: though a 30-18 win over the winless Bulldogs and a 34-30 victory over the inconsistent Tigers is not the strongest form guide to go off. It shapes as a tough week to take on the Raiders who usually bounce back strongly after disappointing defeats.

The Cowboys remain unchanged ahead of the clash as the team await the return of million dollar man Jason Taumalolo. North Queensland will need to improve their defensive efforts if they are to get the win over the Raiders, currently conceding over 31 points per game through the first six weeks.


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The Raiders team will be on notice this week following a Ricky Stuart barrage after a disappointing 35-10 loss at home to the Parramatta Eels in round six. It comes after a 30-10 defeat to premiership heavyweights the Penrith Panthers which has seen the Raiders slip out of the top eight at the beginning of round seven.

Stuart has made a number of changes, with Bailey Simonsson dropping off the wing and being replaced by Sebastian Kris. Forward Joseph Tapine drops to the extended bench with big man Josh Papali’i dropping to the bench, which sees Corey Horsburgh and Corey Harawira-Naera onto the bench for their first NRL performance of the season following off-field discretions in the pre-season. Co-captain Josh Hodgson also drops out of the team with Tom Starling his replacement at hooker.


This shapes as a huge clash for the Raiders and their finals credentials after tough losses to two premiership chances over the last two weeks. The Cowboys enter the clash full of confidence coming off back-to-back wins (which are their only two wins for the season).

The Raiders have lost two members of their spine, with Charnze Nicole-Klokstad and Hodgson missing, which makes this clash much closer than it would be with the Raiders at full strength. On the other hand, dropping Newcastle-bound Jake Clifford and inserting Ben Hampton in at halfback has given the Cowboys a new lease on life in attack.

Don’t be surprised if this one is close until the death.


The Cowboys and Raiders only met once in 2020 with the Raiders edging a tight 14-12 win in North Queensland. Canberra will be happy Taumalolo isn’t fit for the clash after he ran for 241 metres and scored a try in the round 12 clash.


Expect the Cowboys to turn up with plenty of energy but the Raiders will run over the top of them late after a Ricky spray.

Raiders by 12.


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