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2021 NRL Round 12 Preview, Cowboys Vs Warriors

Brad Inger previews the Friday clash between the North Queensland Cowboys and the New Zealand Warriors. This is what we have to look forward to.

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TEAM NEWS

Venue: QLD Country Bank Stadium, Date: 28/5, Time: 6pm

Cowboys Team

  1. Valentine Holmes
  2. Kyle Feldt
  3. Javid Bowen
  4. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow
  5. Murray Taulagi
  6. Scott Drinkwater
  7. Jake Clifford
  8. Tom Gilbert
  9. Reece Robson
  10. Jordan McLean
  11. Shane Wright
  12. Mitchell Dunn
  13. Coen Hess
  14. Jake Granville
  15. Peter Hola
  16. Corey Jensen
  17. Heilum Luki
  18. Justin O’Neill
  19. Ben Condon
  20. Daejarn Asi
  21. Emry Pere

Team Changes

IN: Ben Condon, Coen Hess, Corey Jensen, Emry Pere, Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow, Justin O’Neill, Peter Hola
OUT: Connelly Lemuelu, Francis Molo, Jason Taumalolo, Lachlan Burr

Warriors Team

  1. Reece Walsh
  2. Marcelo Montoya
  3. Adam Pompey
  4. Euan Aitken
  5. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
  6. Kodi Nikorima
  7. Chanel Harris-Tavita
  8. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown
  9. Wayde Egan
  10. Kane Evans
  11. Jack Murchie
  12. Eliesa Katoa
  13. Tohu Harris
  14. Jazz Tevaga
  15. Leeson Ah Mau
  16. Bunty Afoa
  17. Ben Murdoch-Masila
  18. Taniela Otukolo
  19. Rocco Berry
  20. Sean O’Sullivan
  21. Jackson Frei

Team Changes

IN: Jackson Frei, Rocco Berry, Sean O’Sullivan, Taniela Otukolo
OUT:
Edward Kosi

Referee: Matt Cecchin

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Cowboys

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The suspension of Jason Taumalolo is the biggest change for the Cowboys, with Coen Hess replacing the rampaging Lock. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow returns to the centres and pairs with Murray Taulagi, who scored a hat-trick last week.

The Cowboys are coming into the round after a 36-20 victory over the Knights in Round 11. The week prior, they showed heart but ultimately went down 30-16 to the Roosters.

Warriors

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The Warriors name an unchanged 17 into this game, with the biggest talking point being rookie Reece Walsh retaining the fullback spot after last weeks last-minute team change.

The New Zealand side comes into the round fresh of returning to the winner’s circle, defeating the Wests Tigers 30-26. Magic Round saw the Warriors defeated by the Eels 34-18 despite showing a brief fightback.

PREVIEW

The Cowboys get to stay at home this round to take on a Warriors side with plenty of attacking ability; North Queensland are no slouches themselves. This could lead to a high scoring game, with both sides opting to outscore their opponents instead of relying on their defensive structures. Both sides have had issues defending for 80 minutes, so the key factor in this match may come down to which side keeps their head in the game longer.

Valentine Holmes and Scott Drinkwater have started to hit form and have been integral to the Cowboys attack; Holmes has improved his goalkicking, which is a welcome sign as his poor goalkicking was the difference between these sides in their last encounter. Their edge attack has been impressive, with Kyle Feldt and Taulagi both having strong performances last week, and you should expect them to be their main attacking threats against a Warriors side that struggles to defend the edges.

For the Warriors, all eyes will be on Reece Walsh; the impact the 18-year-old has had in his five games for the Warriors has been outstanding. As shown last week, he adds a spark to the New Zealand side when he made three try assists in his best game to date. The Warriors will need another big effort from the youngster this week if they are to head into the bye round with the much-needed win.

KEY STAT

The head-to-head record between these sides is evenly split, with both sides winning 19 matches out of the 38 played. The Warriors have had the edge in recent times, winning the last two encounters 24-20 earlier this year and 37-26 last season.

PREDICTION

The Cowboys are playing at home; however, the loss of Taumalolo may be one step too far for North Queensland. It will be a close match, but I think the Warriors, aided by superstar in the making Reece Walsh, http://gty.im/1315770870 will have the slight edge to get the win in a close game.

Warriors by 8

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