Andrew Pelechaty previews the opening game of the first split round, with the Gold Coast Titans hosting the North Queensland Cowboys…
Gold Coast Titans Vs North Queensland Cowboys
Venue: Cbus Super Stadium, Gold Coast
Date: Thursday June 2, 7:50pm
MATCHDAY TEAM NEWS
Related: NRL Team List TuesdayEmbed from Getty Images
Titans: 1. Jayden Campbell 2. Corey Thompson 3. Brian Kelly 4. Patrick Herbert 5. Jamayne Isaako 6. AJ Brimson 7. Toby Sexton 8. Moeaki Fotuaika 9. Erin Clark 10. Jarrod Wallace 11. Sam McIntyre 12. Beau Fermor 13. Isaac Liu 14. Tanah Boyd 15. Jaimin Jolliffe 16. Esan Marsters 17. Sam Lisone 18. Aaron Booth 19. Herman Ese’ese 20. Greg Marzhew 21. Alofiana Khan-Pereira 22. Sosefo Fifita
Tino Fa’asuamaleaui (Origin) and David Fifita (knee injury) are both big outs. Moeaki Fotuaika returns at prop and Isaac Liu goes to lock.Embed from Getty Images
Cowboys: 1. Scott Drinkwater 2. Brendan Elliot 3. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow 4. Peta Hiku 5. Murray Taulagi 6. Ben Hampton 7. Chad Townsend 8. Jordan McLean 9. Reece Robson 10. Coen Hess 11. Tom Gilbert 12. Heilum Luki 13. Jason Taumalolo 14. Jake Granville 15. Connelly Lemuelu 16. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown 17. Griffin Neame 18. Ben Condon 19. Kane Bradley 20. Brendan Frei 22. Riley Price 23. Jake Bourke
Jason Taumalolo returns from a knee injury, which is vital with four Cowboys (Val Holmes, Reuben Cotter, Tom Dearden, and Jeremiah Nanai) picked for the Maroons. Murray Taulagi and Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow have been relased from the Maroons’ 22-man squad. It’s a just reward for the Cowboys’ strong start to 2022.
While this game is affected by Origin omissions, there’s still plenty at stake.
After making the finals last year (albeit barely), the Titans have fallen away dramatically. They should have won their fourth game of the season on Friday night, leading Brisbane 24-4 at half-time (tries to Jayden Campbell, Corey Thompson, Alexander Brimson, and David Fifita), but then lost the second half 31-0 to lose 35-24. Not even big Tino’s massive game (271 All Run Metres, 129 Post-Contact Metres, 31 Tackles) could save them. It was similar to their capitulation in Canberra earlier this season, losing 24-22 after leading 22-0 just before half-time.
Though the Cowboys’ six-game winning streak ended in Penrith, they wouldn’t be too concerned, as Penrith had a 21-game winning run at Penrith Park for a reason. What would concern the Cowboys was their 43% possession rate and 23/37 completion rate, which was alarming considering they’ve scored 30 points or more in their last five games.
This is a big game for the Cowboys. A win will put them back on track before playing St George Illawarra, a struggling Manly Warringah, and Brisbane (in Townsville) before the Origin bye. They’ll fancy kickstarting another winning run here.
It’s hard to see the bottom four Titans getting near the Cowboys here (even with all the Cowboys’ missing Origin players). Surrendering as badly as they did last weekend takes a mental toll (just ask any Canberra Raiders fan…) and we know the Cowboys can rack up a cricket score when in the mood, just like their Round Seven clash (which the Cowboys won 30-4).Embed from Getty Images
While North Queensland struggled through the ‘90s, they still had the measure of the equally bad Gold Coast Seagulls/Chargers, with a 2-1 record before the Chargers were kicked out in 1999.
1995: Gold Coast Seagulls d Cowboys 10-8.
1996: Cowboys 24 d Gold Coast Chargers 24-14.
1998: Cowboys d Chargers 14-4.
Cowboys by 18.
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