2023 NRL Preview Round 18: Cowboys Vs Tigers

Check out the match preview and prediction for the round 18 clash between the Cowboys and West Tigers.



North Queensland Cowboys Vs West Tigers
Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Townsville
Date: Saturday 1st July, 5:30pm


Cowboys: 1. Scott Drinkwater 2. Semi Valemei 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. Luciano Leilua 12. Jeremiah Nanai 13. Reuben Cotter 14. Jake Granville 15. Griffin Neame 16. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown 17. Kulikefu Finefeuiaki 18. Jason Taumalolo 19. Kyle Feldt 20. Sam McIntyre 21. Jack Gosiewski 22. Zac Laybutt

West Tigers: 1. Jahream Bula 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Brent Naden 4. Starford To’a 5. Junior Tupou 6. Daine Laurie 7. Brandon Wakeham 8. Stefano Utoikamanu 9. Jake Simpkin 10. David Klemmer 11. Isaiah Papali’i 12. Shawn Blore 13. John Bateman 14. Tallyn Da Silva 15. Fonua Pole 16. Alex Twal 17. Asu Kepaoa 18. Alex Seyfarth 19. Will Smith 20. Tommy Talau 21. Justin Matamua 22. Aistasi James

Referee: Liam Kennedy

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On Saturday night the city of Townsville will be buzzing, as the North Queensland Cowboys prepare to put on a spectacular performance against the West Tigers at Country Bank Stadium.

The Cowboys should still be beaming with confidence as they come off a stunning win against the Rabbitohs last weekend at Accor stadium in Sydney.

They fielded strong defence, which was no match for the Rabbitohs, holding them to a 5-0 score line going into the break, then piling on the points in the second half making it 31-6 at the full-time siren.

The last time the Cowboys had a record defeat against the Tigers was their historical win in round 22 back in 2014, where they defeated the Tigers 64-6 at 1300Smiles Stadium in Townsville.

The only changes to the Cowboys line up for Saturday night’s match will be Jason Taumalolo, a late withdrawal with a hamstring injury, but he has been named as the 18th man. Even though Reece Robson suffered a hamstring injury against Souths he has been named to play.

The Cowboys will look to dominate in defence with their strong forward pack of Jake Grenville, Jeremiah Nanai and Reuben Cotter.

They will field an equally strong back line with the force of Scott Drinkwater making 53 tackle breaks just this season and Valentine Holmes with a combined total of 324 average running metres.

With Holmes making a striking set of tries in their previous match against the Rabbitohs with the assistance of Drinkwater providing an equally extraordinary performance, they could play an integral part in this weekend’s match.

The Cowboys may look to further bolster their side with the use of Kulikefu Finefeuiaki off the bench, who is only 19 years of age and already making a substantial impact in the game.

The Tigers are going to need luck on their side this weekend after their previous match against the Storm in round 16 saw them get obliterated, going down 28-6.

They will go into this match coming off a bye, refreshed with a new combination of players because of Apisai Koroisau and Luke Brooks being out of the squad due to injuries.

The Tigers will hope this new combination will prove to be a winner for them with key players in a dominant forward pack. Captaining the side will be John Bateman teaming up with fellow forward David Klemmer.

Klemmer is one of the fittest props in the game with his stats speaking volumes with 16 tackle breaks combining with 793.8 post contact metres, 357 defensive tackles made and averaging 149 running metres.

The return of Daine Laurie at five-eight for his first game since round 4, may further prove positive for the Tigers in their backline.

The power of exceptionally talented half and goal- kicker Brandon Wakeham’s successful conversion rate of 21 goals and averaging 195.1 kicking metres further adds momentum and direction to a formidably lost Tigers side.

In what is one of their crucial matches, could the Tigers find their mojo and prevent the repeat of being wooden spooners, or will the Cowboys show their horsepower and bring home a win?


Cowboys 6, West Tigers 3


Cowboys by 14 points.

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