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2021 NRL Round 22 Preview, Cowboys Vs Tigers

Matt Pritchard previews the Cowboys and Tigers Women in League Round fixture at QLD Country Bank Stadium. This is what we have to look forward to.

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TEAM NEWS

Venue: QLD Country Bank Stadium, Date: 14/8, Time: 5:30pm

Cowboys Team

1. Valentine Holmes
2. Kyle Feldt
3. Daejarn Asi
4. Jake Granville
5. Ben Hampton
6. Scott Drinkwater
7. Tom Dearden
8. Francis Molo
9. Reece Robson
10. Jordan McLean
11. Ben Condon
12. Heilum Luki
13. Coen Hess
14. Tom Gilbert
15. Jeremiah Nanai
16. Mitchell Dunn
17. Griffin Neame
18. Peter Hola
19. Connelly Lemuelu
20. Shane Wright
21. Laitia Moceidreke

Team Changes

IN: Francis Molo, Griffin Neame, Jeremiah Nanai, Shane Wright.
OUT: Jason Taumalolo, Lachlan Burr, Murray Taulagi.

Tigers Team

1. Moses Mbye
2. David Nofoaluma
3. Tommy Talau
4. Michael Chee Kam
5. Ken Maumalo
6. Adam Doueihi
7. Luke Brooks
8. Stefano Utoikamanu
9. Jacob Liddle
10. James Tamou
11. Shawn Blore
12. Luciano Leilua
13. Thomas Mikaele
14. Joe Ofahengaue
15. Kelma Tuilagi
16. Alex Twal
17. Zac Cini
18. Jake Simpkin
19. Tukimihia Simpkins
20. Jock Madden
21. James Roberts

Team Changes

IN: Jake Simpkin, James Roberts.
OUT: James Tamou

Referee: Chris Sutton

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Cowboys

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North Queensland Cowboys come into this game with eight losses on the trot and the slimmest of top 8 contenders, having to rely on results to play in the NRL finals series.

Last Sunday they went down to the Titans 36-14 in a game where they simply made too many missed tackles and turned the ball over often, completing at only 66%.

They will be without Jason Taumalolo this week after fracturing his hand in last week’s loss. He is one of three changes with Lachlan Burr and Murray Taulagi also missing this week. Todd Payten will debut Kiwi born duo Griffin Neame and Jeremiah Nanai from the bench. Jake Clifford will be a makeshift centre this week.

Tigers

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Wests Tigers ended a two-game losing streak in beating the bottom placed Bulldogs 28-16 at CBUS Stadium last Sunday.

It was a less than convincing win with some good, bad and ugly moments. Adam Doueihi continues to be their most potent attacking weapon. They’ll need him to be at the top of his game over the next month where they simple can’t afford a slip-up, otherwise their season will be done.

James Tamou is out of the Tigers side which has caused a reshuffle. Alex Twal will start at lock, Thomas Mikaele comes into the front row and Jake Simpkin comes onto the bench.

PREVIEW

When these two sides last met the North Queensland Cowboys took a surprise victory on a day that the Wests Tigers should have commemorated the life of Tommy Raudonikis following his passing in April.

This time around the Tigers will have a similar emotion as they try to keep their 2021 season alive. How they handle the pressure situation will determine whether they earn the right to stay in the race for another week. Their scrappy win last week and loss to the Warriors the week prior shows there’s much more improvement needed in their efforts. Without James Tamou the on-field leadership will be tested. Moses Mbye needs to lead by example and the Tigers need much more out of Luke Brooks than his hot and cold form. Adam Doueihi is the saviour, showing genuine leadership qualities at such a young age.

North Queensland Cowboys season is done despite the outside chances of scraping through to playing in the finals series. They have a 5 wins, 5 losses record at Queensland Country Bank Stadium. Playing at home is always an advantage and perhaps with a big performance from Valentine Holmes they could be on their way to ending to putting a dent in the Tigers finals campaign.

No Jason Taumalolo makes it tough for the Cowboys, but the newcomers in Jeremiah Nanai and Griffin Neame might just bring some enthusiasm into the squad who are low on morale.

With both sides leaky in defence, it comes down to which side can hold possession long enough and complete their sets. Both sides roughly complete at the same level (76% Cowboys, 78% Tigers). There’s enough backline talent in both sides to post points.

KEY STAT

Wests Tigers will play for the first time at Queensland Country Bank Stadium. In their previous two encounters to Townsville they’ve led 20-6 at half time to win 26-16 in 2017 and through the boot of Benji Marshall to beat the Cowboys 27-26 in 2019.

PREDICTION

We could see the best and worst of both sides in this one. If the game is tight the fear is the Tigers won’t be able to close the game out. With the home ground advantage, North Queensland might just break their losing streak and win in a tight contest. Cowboys by 1

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