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2021 NRL Round 18 Preview, Cowboys Vs Roosters

Josh Mercer previews the round 18 clash between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Sydney Roosters. This is what we have to look forward to.

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TEAM NEWS

Venue: Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Date: 17/7, Time: 3pm*

Cowboys

1. Valentine Holmes
2. Kyle Feldt
3. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow
4. Connelly Lemuelu
5. Murray Taulagi
6. Scott Drinkwater
7. Tom Dearden
8. Francis Molo
9. Reece Robson
10. Jordan McLean
11. Shane Wright
12. Mitchell Dunn
13. Jason Taumalolo
14. Jake Granville
15. Tom Gilbert
16. Coen Hess
17. Peter Hola
18. Lachlan Burr
19. Javid Bowen
20. Ben Condon
21. Daejarn Asi
22. Kane Bradley

Team Changes

IN: Ben Condon, Francis Molo, Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow, Kane Bradley, Valentine Holmes.
OUT: Heilim Luki.

Roosters Team

1. James Tedesco
2. Daniel Tupou
3. Josh Morris
4. Joseph Manu
5. Matt Ikuvalu
6. Drew Hutchison
7. Sam Walker
8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves
9. Sam Verrills
10. Isaac Liu
11. Angus Crichton
12. Sitili Tupouniua
13. Victor Radley
14. Lachlan Lam
15. Nat Butcher
16. Egan Butcher
17. Fletcher Baker
18. Ben Thomas
19. Billy Smith
20. Adam Keighran
21. Tuku Hau Tapuha

Team Changes

IN: Angus Crichton, Fletcher Baker, James Tedesco, Tuku Hau Tapuha.
OUT:
Siosiua Taukeiaho.

Referee: Ashley Klein

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

North Queensland Cowboys

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The Cowboys got off to a fantastic start against the Rabbitohs, jumping out out to a 12-2 lead early in the first half with tries to Tom Dearden and Shane Wright. It was all down hill after that as the Rabbitohs ran rampant. Numerous times their defence was ordinary, with the Rabbitohs finding them out short on the edges or going through the middle to score.

Sydney Roosters

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The Roosters didn’t have it all their own way against the Bulldogs, winning 22-16. They did get off to a great start, leading 10-0 early. Lachlan Lewis got the Bulldogs first try and it was game on. The Roosters did jump out to a 10 point lead after Joey Manu split through the defence to score but the Bulldogs pulled the lead back to six at half time as Lachlan Lewis scored his second. The Bulldogs levelled the score through Nick Meaney and it was looking like there was an upset on the card. Matt Ikuvalu crossed over to give the lead back to the Roosters. With four minutes remaining Sam Walker kicked a penalty goal for a six point lead. The finish to the game was a bit bizarre as Sam Walker on the fifth tackle decided to run back to towards his own try line, running out the last 20 seconds so the Bulldogs didn’t have a chance to force the game into Golden Point.

PREVIEW

The Cowboys will have Francis Molo and Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow returning, however Valentine Holmes is set to be missing after injuring his shoulder for the Maroons on Wednesday night. The Bulldogs effort would of given the Cowboys some hope after their showing against the Roosters last week. If the Cowboys get off to a good start and play for the full 80 minutes, they can win this game.

The Roosters had to fight for their win against the Bulldogs last week. While they were missing Crichton and Tedesco, they really should have put the Bulldogs away easier. They will be boosted with both Tedesco and Crichton return, they will need to play much better than they did against the Bulldogs if they hope to stay in fifth position on the ladder.

KEY STAT

The Cowboys completion rate is better than the Roosters this season, it is at 76%. The Roosters are only slightly behind on 75%.

PREDICTION

Roosters by 10. 

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