Joshua Knox previews the Saturday night clash between the Cowboys and the Raiders. Here’s what we have to look forward to.
North Queensland Cowboys Vs Canberra Raiders
Venue: Queensland Country Bank Stadium
Date: Saturday March 19, 2022
MATCHDAY TEAM NEWS
Related: NRL Team List TuesdayEmbed from Getty Images
Cowboys: 1. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Valentine Holmes 4. Peta Hiku 5. Murray Taulagi 6. Tom Dearden 7. Chad Townsend 8. Jordan McLean 9. Reece Robson 10. Coen Hess 11. Tom Gilbert 12. Jeremiah Nanai 13. Jason Taumalolo 14. Jake Granville 15. Heilum Luki 16. Mitchell Dunn 17. Griffin Neame 18. Reuben Cotter 19. Scott Drinkwater 20. Connelly Lemuelu 21. Brendan Elliot 22. Ben Condon 23. Emry Pere 24. Daejarn Asi
Jordan McLean replaces Jamayne Taunoa-Brown (knee) in the starting side and Griffin Neame has been added to the bench. Jason Taumalolo reverts to lock.Embed from Getty Images
Raiders: 1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 2. Nick Cotric 3. Matthew Timoko 4. Semi Valemei 5. James Schiller 6. Jack Wighton 7. Matt Frawley 8. Josh Papali’i 9. Tom Starling 10. Joseph Tapine 11. Hudson Young 12. Corey Harawira-Naera 13. Elliott Whitehead 14. Adrian Trevilyan 15. Emre Guler 16. Adam Elliott 17. Corey Horsburgh 18. Xavier Savage 19. Sebastian Kris 20. Sam Williams 21. Ryan Sutton 22. Peter Hola 23. Trey Mooney 24. Harry Rushton
Matt Frawley has been recalled at halfback with Brad Schneider forced out of the side due to COVID. Tom Starling starts at hooker for Josh Hodgson, who is out with a knee injury. Adrian Trevilyan will make his NRL debut off the bench.
Referee: Grant Atkins
Many were predicting both of these sides to be battling it out towards the bottom of the table in season 2022. The Raiders kickstarted their season with a last gasp 24-19 victory over the highly rated Cronulla Sharks outfit. The Cowboys played out a scrappy affair against the Canterbury Bulldogs and were ultimately beaten 6-4. The Cowboys ran away 26-24 victors in the corresponding clash last season and will be hoping to replicate a similar performance on Saturday night.
The Raiders have lost two members of their spine for the trip up north with Josh Hodgson and Brad Schneider ruled out. Raiders fans will be excited to gain a glimpse into the future with Tom Starling getting a start at dummy-half, as he will be the option moving forward following Hodgson’s deal with the Parramatta Eels commencing in 2023. Jack Wighton shapes as the key for the Raiders with the former Dally-M winner grabbing two tries in the win over the Sharks. His running game will cause problems for the Cowboys halves who are both small in stature.
The Cowboys remain relatively unchanged but will be without young front rower Jamayne Taunoa-Brown through injury. North Queensland struggled in the humid and greasy conditions last weekend and will need to be a few levels better to challenge a hungry Canberra side who are looking to go back-to-back. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow was relatively quiet in the Bulldogs match and will be looking to add some more spark from the back to lock down the hotly contested fullback position at the Cowboys.
Cowboys dummy-half Reece Robson has scored a try in each of the last two matches against Canberra and will be hoping to exploit the middle-men once more to push his side towards a victory. The Raiders hold the edge in the head-to-head column grabbing 23 wins from the 41 meetings between the two sides.
Raiders by 4.
Follow Nothing But Rugby League on Facebook