Lachy MacCorquodale previews the Saturday night clash between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Sydney Roosters
North Queensland Cowboys vs Sydney Roosters
Venue: Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Townsville
Date: Saturday April 2, 7:35pm
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. Reuben Cotter 17. Griffin Neame 18. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown 19. Scott Drinkwater 20. Connelly Lemuelu 21. Brendan Elliot 22. Ben Condon 23. Emry Pere 24. Daejarn Asi
Cowboys coach Todd Payten has named the same side that took care of business against the Brisbane Broncos on Sunday afternoon.Embed from Getty Images
Roosters: 1. James Tedesco 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Paul Momirovski 4. Joseph Manu 5. Billy Smith 6. Sam Walker 7. Luke Keary 8. Lindsay Collins 9. Connor Watson 10. Siosiua Taukeiaho 11. Nat Butcher 12. Sitili Tupouniua 13. Victor Radley 14. Drew Hutchinson 15. Daniel Suluka-Fifita 16. Angus Crichton 17. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 18. Naufahu Whyte 19. Renouf Atoni 20. Lachlan Lam 21. Freddy Lussick 22. Kevin Naiqama 23. Adam Keighran 24. Tuku Hau Tapuha
There’s only one change for the Sydney Roosters for Saturday nights clash with Fletcher Baker coming out of the side for Daniel Suluka-Fifita, who takes a spot on the bench.
Referee: Gerard Sutton
Who would’ve thought that the North Queensland Cowboys would be the higher placed side heading into this clash against the Sydney Roosters?
It has been a good start to the season for the Cowboys given their performances since the retirement of Johnathan Thurston. After only scoring four points in their round one clash against the Canterbury Bulldogs, the Cowboys have piled on 64 points in their two recent wins against the Canberra Raiders and the Brisbane Broncos.
The Cowboys seem to be directing themselves around the park better than they have in the recent pass, which can be attributed to the solid form of halves, Tom Dearden and Chad Townsend who have started the season in fine fashion.
This in combination with a more dynamic forward pack, the Cowboys been able to find different ways to score points, highlighted by Jeremiah Nanai’s hattrick last weekend with all three tries coming from kicks. Having a forward like Nanai as a target for the halves to kick to is a new weapon that the Cowboys will be sure to test out again on Saturday night.
Dearden and Townsend’s direction will be to the Cowboys walking away with the two points on Saturday as they can’t afford to let the Roosters get on top of them and dictate the game.
The away side, the Sydney Roosters, have had a strange start to the season.
Losing to the Newcastle Knights in the opening round was a shock to most NRL fans but the tricolours turned this around with a convincing 14-point victory over the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles.
To continue their topsy-turvy start to the season, the Roosters fell 12-points short against a rampaging South Sydney who secured their first win of the season.
You’d expect the Roosters to get the two points against this Cowboys outfit but given their inconsistent form to start the season, anything could happen on Saturday night.
The Roosters will be determined to come away with the two points on Saturday, which would put them at two wins and two losses to start the season. If this is to happen, players such as James Tedesco, Joseph Manu and Luke Keary will have to take charge against the Cowboys and assert their dominance early.
If they can get on top of the Cowboys early, they could dictate the flow of the game from there.
To help this, the Roosters will have to clean up their errors after an uncharacteristic 12 errors last weekend, with five of those coming from Tedesco and Manu.
The Roosters have won their last three outings against the Cowboys, dating back to 2020 and scored 30 or more points in each of those victories and they’ll be aiming repeat this on Saturday night.Embed from Getty Images
Historically, this is a one-sided affair with the Roosters walking away as victors on 29 out of the 41 meetings between the two sides. This includes winning eight of the last 11 matches against the North Queensland Cowboys which includes a loss at the hands of the Queensland club in the 2017 finals series when the Cowboys unexpectedly charged into the Grand Final.
The Cowboys win against Canberra in round two was their first win at Queensland Country Bank Stadium since the May 28, 2021. They had lost their previous six matches at their home venue which included a 16-point loss to the Roosters. The Roosters have enjoyed their limited matches at this venue having won all three matches that they have played at the venue.
Sydney Roosters by 10 points.
Follow Nothing But Rugby League on Facebook