North Queensland Toyota Cowboys players get their final chance to push for a Round 1 spot when they take on the Wests Tigers at Campbelltown Stadium in a trial match tonight.
Head coach Paul Green has named an 18-man team which he has said will be ‘close’ to the team he’ll look to field when the Cowboys kick off their 2017 National Rugby League campaign against the Canberra Raiders at 1300SMILES Stadium on Saturday, 4 March.
The most intriguing aspect of tonight’s trial will be the performances of Green’s bench with the fourth-year mentor set to play a five-man interchange against the Tigers. Only four players can be selected for the Raiders clash.
New recruit Ben Hampton, grand final winner John Asiata and young guns Coen Hess, Sam Hoare and Patrick Kaufusi will all look to impress once given the chance, while perennial interchange forward Scott Bolton will partner co-captain Matt Scott in the starting front row.
For many Cowboys, the trial will be the first taste of 13-a-side action this year with players including Johnathan Thurston, Michael Morgan, Justin O’Neill, Gavin Cooper and Kyle Feldt rested for the trial in Mackay versus the Roosters.
Tonight’s game will kick off at 7pm, NSW time (6pm Queensland time) at Campbelltown Stadium.
North Queensland Cowboys: 1. Lachlan Coote 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Justin O’Neill 4. Kane Linnett 5. Antonio Winterstein 6. Michael Morgan 7. Johnathan Thurston (C) 8. Matt Scott (C) 9. Jake Granville 10. Scott Bolton 11. Gavin Cooper 12. Ethan Lowe 13. Jason Taumalolo Interchange: 14. Ben Hampton 15. John Asiata 16. Coen Hess 17. Patrick Kaufusi 18. Sam Hoare
West Tigers: Josh Aloiai, Michael Chee Kam, Joel Edwards, JJ Felise, Tim Grant, Watson Heleta, Justin Hunt, Jamal Idris, Chris Lawrence, Jack Littlejohn, Jeremy Marshall-King, Esan Marsters, Matt McIlwrick, Kevin Naiqama, David Nofoaluma, Jordan Rankin, Ava Seumanufagai, Bayley Sironen, Sauaso Sue, Moses Suli, Elijah Taylor, James Tedesco, Aaron Woods