2024 NRL: Round 9 Preview, Cowboys Vs Dolphins

Check out the match preview and prediction for the round 9 clash between the Cowboys and Dolphins.



North Queensland Cowboys Vs The Dolphins
Venue: Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Townsville
Date: Saturday May 4, 7:35pm


Cowboys: Scott Drinkwater, 2. Kyle Feldt, 3. Valentine Holmes, 4. Viliami Vailea, 5. Semi Valemei, 6. Tom Dearden, 7. Chad Townsend, 8. Jordan McLean, 9. Reece Robson, 10. Griffin Neame, 11. Kulikefu Finefeuiaki, 12. Jeremiah Nanai, 13. Reuben Cotter, 14. Heilum Luki, 15. Thomas Mikaele, 16. Sam McIntyre, 17. Jason Taumalolo, 18. Jake Granville, 19. Jake Clifford, 20. Harrison Edwards, 21. Jamal Shibasaki, 22. Jaxon Purdue

DolphinsTrai Fuller, 2. Jamayne Isaako, 3. Jake Averillo, 4. Tesi Niu, 5. Jack Bostock, 6. Kodi Nikorima, 7. Isaiya Katoa, 8. Jesse Bromwich, 9. Jeremy Marshall-King, 10. Mark Nicholls, 11. Felise Kaufusi, 12. Euan Aitken, 13. Max Plath, 14. Josh Kerr, 15. Kurt Donoghoe, 16. Ray Stone, 17. Connelly Lemuelu, 18. Oryn Keeley, 19. Sean O’Sullivan, 20. Jarrod Wallace, 21. Edrick Lee, 22. Mason Teague

Referee: Peter Gough

Embed from Getty Images


Eight weeks after the Cowboys and Dolphins kicked off their seasons against each other, they meet again with similar hot-and-cold form lines at Queensland Country Bank Stadium. The Cowboys opened their campaign with three straight wins (including a 43-18 triumph over the Dolphins in round 1) but have lost four of their last five to sit outside the top eight.

The Dolphins recovered from the opening round loss to record a three-match winning running of their own but have since lost two of their past three.

Tom Chester’s hamstring injury opens the door for former Warrior Viliami Vailea to make his club debut, starting at centre. Heilum Luki (ankle) also returns to the side via the bench, with Jake Granville dropping to 18th Man.

Felise Kaufusi is a welcome return to the Dolphins’ forward pack having overcome a hamstring issue, taking the place of Kenny Bromwich (concussion). It’s not all bad news for the Bromwich brothers though, with Jesse named to start after scans revealed no damage to his calf. Connelly Lemuelu also returns from injury via the bench, forcing Oryn Keeley to 18th Man.

After a strong start to the season, the Cowboys’ form has fallen away in a worrying manner for Todd Payten. Big losses on the road to Brisbane and Cronulla exposed a number of defensive flaws, while defeat to an under-strength Parramatta and an ugly victory over the Gold Coast didn’t do much for them either. They put in a vastly improved showing against Penrith in Townsville last weekend and will be keen to turn that effort into victory on Saturday night.

Based on current form, the Dolphins should be expecting a victory. Their previous four matches have seen them follow a win-loss-win-loss pattern. Having thrashed the Eels in Darwin in round 7, many expected them to inflict a similar result on a Newcastle side missing Kalyn Ponga at Suncorp Stadium last Sunday. However, a lacklustre attacking performance saw them go down 18-14, a scoreline which arguably flattered them after they trailed 18-6 with only a few minutes to play. Wayne Bennett will no doubt have them ready and raring to go for this one, with an improvement almost a certainty.

In the short history of matches between the Cowboys and Dolphins, the home side has failed to record a victory. The Dolphins won the opening meeting of the two sides 32-22 at QCB Stadium last year, before the Cowboys responded with two victories at Suncorp Stadium. Matches between the two teams have also proven to be attacking affairs, with an average of 9.33 tries and 53 points per match.

It’s tough to pick, but a home ground advantage should be just enough to get the Cowboys home.

Head-to-head stats can be found at Round 9 Number Crunch.


Check out all the NRL Predictions for round 9 here.

Cowboys by 6 points.

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