Match preview: Cowboys v Dragons trial!
Thursday 14 February 2013 2:30 PM
THE SHERIFF'S MATCH PREVIEW: Cowboys v Dragons
2013 NRL Pre-Season Trial #2
North Queensland Toyota Cowboys: 1 Clint Greenshields, 2 Wayne Ulugia, 3 Antonio Winterstein, 4 Curtis Rona, 5 Kalifa Faifai Loa, 6 Johnathan Thurston (c), 7 Michael Morgan, 8 Matt Scott (c), 9 Scott Moore, 10 James Tamou, 11 Gavin Cooper, 12 Glenn Hall, 13 Dallas Johnson. Interchange: 14 Ray Thompson, 15 Kyle Feldt, 16 Tariq Sims, 17 Jason Taumalolo, 18 Ashton Sims, 19 Robert Lui, 20 Joel Riethmuller, 21 Scott Bolton, 22 Ricky Thorby.
St George Illawarra Dragons (squad only): Gerard Beale, Matt Cooper, Ben Creagh (c), Jack de Belin. Josh Drinkwater, Nathan Fien, Tyson Frizell, Bronx Goodwin, Bronson Harrison, Michael Henderson, Cameron King, Will Matthews, Trent Merrin, Brett Morris, Jason Nightingale, Matt Prior, Mitch Rein, Adam Quinlan, Charly Runciman, Todd Ryan, Jamie Soward, Chase Stanley, Jack Stockwell, Atelea Vea, Daniel Vidot.
Date: Saturday 16 February 2013
Venue: Barlow Park, Cairns
Match updates: Follow @nthqldcowboys on Twitter
Curtain-raiser: Cowboys NYC v Northern Pride (trial) - 5.30pm
THE SHERIFF’S SYNOPSIS
The Cowboys’ roadshow rolls into Cairns this weekend for our 11th pre-season match in the city in the past 12 years.
This one looks like being a real cracker with both North Queensland and St George Illawarra naming near full-strength squads, with plenty of high-quality players having their first hit-out for 2013.
The Cowboys can’t field a much stronger forward pack than this one.
The Test front-row duo of Matthew Scott and James Tamou are joined by the regular back row from 2012 – Gavin Cooper, Glenn Hall and Dallas Johnson – as well as English hooker Scott Moore who will start for the second consecutive week.
On the bench, the forward options include the Sims brothers, Jason Taumalolo, Scott Bolton, Ricky Thorby and Joel Riethmuller with the likes of Blake Leary, who was impressive in the Mt Isa victory, Sam Hoare, Ethan Lowe and Felise Kaufusi dropping back to Intrust Super Cup trials.
That’s the sort of depth you need in a competition as tough to win as the NRL.
It’s in the backline where the Cowboys are down a little bit on numbers this weekend, predominantly through off-season surgery.
Brent Tate and Matthew Bowen are scheduled to return from shoulder surgery next week, while this year’s “Mr Fix-It”, Rory Kostyjasyn, should also be right to return in Mackay against the Titans.
Ash Graham has a foot ailment which has prevented him from making a trip to his hometown and an arm infection has sidelined newly re-signed Kane Linnett.
However, there’s still plenty of strikepower in Saturday night’s backline to keep the Dragons defence busy, especially if JT shakes off his sore hand and is okay to play.
If he isn’t, the halves trio of Michael Morgan, Ray Thompson and Robert Lui have the ability to create plenty of points.
Keep an eye on those three and see if you can work out who Neil Henry will choose as JT’s halves partner for round one against the Bulldogs...