2024 NRL: Round 2 Preview, Cowboys Vs Knights

Check out the match preview and prediction for the round 2 clash between the Cowboys and Knights.



North Queensland Cowboys Vs Newcastle Knights
Venue: Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Townsville
Date: Saturday Match 16th, 5:30pm


Cowboys: 1. Scott Drinkwater 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Valentine Holmes 4. Zac Laybutt 5. Murray Taulagi 6. Tom Dearden 7. Chad Townsend 8. Jordan McLean 9. Reece Robson 10. Jason Taumalolo 11. Heilum Luki 12. Jeremiah Nanai 13. Reuben Cotter 14. Jake Granville 15. Griffin Neame 16. Sam McIntyre 17. Kulikefu Finefeuiaki 18. Tomas Chester 19. Thomas Mikaele 20. Semi Valemei 21. Jack Gosiewski 22. Jake Clifford

Knights: 1. Kalyn Ponga, 2. Thomas Jenkins 3. Dane Gagai 4. Bradman Best 5. Greg Marzhew 6. Tyson Gamble 7. Jackson Hastings 8. Jacob Saifiti 9. Phoenix Crossland 10. Leo Thompson 11. Tyson Frizell 12 Kai Pearce-Paul 13. Adam Elliott 14. Jack Cogger 15. Daniel Saifiti 16. Jack Hetherington 17. Jed Cartwright

Referee: Adam Gee

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The round 2 clash between the Cowboys and Knights presents an interesting encounter. The home team, the Cowboys, resoundingly began their season after thumping the Dolphins 43-18. The result showed they were determined to improve on last year’s disappointments. Contrastingly, the Knights lost in an upset to the Raiders in front of a near-sold-out home crowd. After last year’s heroics, it was a humbling beginning to their 2024 season.

The Cowboys will be looking to replicate their electric attack. With their side unchanged, their players will relish the opportunity to continue to build on the combinations they’ve been practising across the pre-season. Their young centre Zac Laybutt was imposing, specifically with a brilliant individual try to kick off the Cowboys’ day. This week, he will find himself opposite the veteran in Dane Gagai, and won’t be afforded the same gaps in the defensive line he was offered last week. Furthermore, Reece Robson was tireless in defence, racking up 52 tackles and making it hard work for the Dolphins forwards to gain any ascendency. Expect him to complete another effort-filled performance.

The Knights must improve every aspect of their game to compete this week. The most telling stat: 15 errors. They made it hard for themselves every time they gained possession by quickly losing it. They will see a slightly revised side take the field this week, with Thomas Jenkins replacing the injured Enari Tuala and Jed Cartwright finding a spot on the bench. However, the most important change this week is the promotion to the starting side of Englishman Kai Pearce-Paul, who was extremely impressive on debut. Hard to handle with a good offload, Knights fans will be visualising him breaking through the line with Kalyn Ponga running beside him.

With a typically humid evening in Townsville expected, it could be hard going for the Knights who will be desperate to kick off their season with a win. The Cowboys have their tail up and are well-conditioned to the difficulties of playing up north. They should be winning, though they won’t find it as convincing and easy-going as last week.

Head-to-head stats can be found at Round 2 Number Crunch.


Cowboys by 12 points.

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