Brad Inger previews the round five clash between the Warriors and the Cowboys. Here’s what we have to look forward to.
New Zealand Warriors Vs North Queensland Cowboys
Venue: Moreton Daily Stadium
Date: Friday April 8, 6:00pm (8:00pm NZ Time)
MATCHDAY TEAM NEWS
Related: NRL Team List TuesdayEmbed from Getty Images
Warriors: 1. Reece Walsh 2. Ed Kosi 3. Jesse Arthars 4. Adam Pompey 5. Marcelo Montoya 6. Chanel Harris-Tavita 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Bunty Afoa 9. Wayde Egan 10. Matt Lodge 11. Euan Aitken 12. Bayley Sironen 13. Josh Curran 14. Kodi Nikorima 15. Eliesa Katoa 16. Aaron Pene 17. Jack Murchie 18. Taniela Otukolo 20. Addin Fonua-Blake 21. Rocco Berry 22. Pride Petterson-Robati 23. Junior Ratuva 24. Viliami Vailea 25. Otukinekina Kepu
There have been a few changes for the home side; Jazz Tevaga is gone after getting a two-match suspension for a cannonball tackle, and Ben Murdoch-Masila is also out of the lineup after suffering a leg injury. Addin Fonua-Blake is also under an injury cloud. He has been moved to the extended bench and may get brought into the 17 closer to kickoff if he can pass his fitness test. Due to these changes, the Warriors have moved Josh Curran back to lock, and Bayley Sironen returns, moving into the starting lineup on the right edge. Aaron Pene and Jack Murchie also return to the interchange after both missed out last week.Embed from Getty Images
Cowboys: 1. Scott Drinkwater 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. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown 11. Tom Gilbert 12. Jeremiah Nanai 13. Jason Taumalolo 14. Jake Granville 15. Heilum Luki 16. Reuben Cotter 17. Griffin Neame 18. Coen Hess 19. Brendan Elliot 20. Connelly Lemuelu 21. Emry Pere 22 Ben Condon 23 Ben Hampton 24. Daejarn Asi
One change for the Cowboys this week, Scott Drinkwater comes in at fullback, replacing Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow, who injured his MCL last round and is expected to be out for two to three weeks. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown has been promoted to the starting side, with Reuben Cotter moving to the bench.
Referee: Todd Smith
The Warriors come into this match on a two-game winning streak after a dominant 20-6 victory over the Broncos. The New Zealand side will be happy with their improved performance led by Addin Fonua-Blake and Matt Lodge upfront. Getting to play with the same spine in repeat games for the first time this season is what the Warriors need; if they can build on last week’s performance and tighten up the defensive structure, they have a chance to make it three wins on the trot.
The Cowboys had started this season strong but crashed back to earth last week when they were defeated 28-4 by the Roosters. Some calls did go against them, which didn’t help, and the loss of Tabuai-Fidow is a massive blow for the visitors; However, they still have a strong forward pack and strike weapons in the backline; if they can get the forwards rolling up the middle before getting the ball out to the edges, then they are a big chance of returning to the winner’s circle.
This should be a great matchup; both sides have good forward packs and plenty of talent in the backlines, and the first clash between former Sharks halves partners Shaun Johnson and Chad Townsend. This match is a must-win for both sides, and the result could come down to who has the better discipline.Embed from Getty Images
In the 39 clashes between these two sides, the teams are hard to split, with the Cowboys having a slight lead with 20 victories to the Warriors 19. This evenly matched trend flows into their recent results; these sides collided twice in 2021; the New Zealand side won the first encounter 24-20, whereas the Cowboys got the honours in the second with a 29-28 victory. The Warriors are undefeated at their new home away from home, although they have only played two matches at the venue; this will be the Cowboy’s first visit to Moreton Daily Stadium.
Warriors by 16.
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