NORTH QUEENSLAND TOYOTA COWBOYS v WESTS TIGERS NYC
Date: 5.15pm, Saturday 12 April
Venue: Campbelltown Stadium
Live updates: twitter.com/nthqldcowboys
Referee: Phil Henderson
Touch judges: Mitchell Stone, Damian Briscoe
Main game: 7.30pm
COWBOYS: 1. Alex Grant 2. Hayden Crowley 3. Lenny Magey 4. Samsen O'Neill 5. Scott Schulte 6. Aaron Solari 7. Delayne Ashby 8. Jack Brock 9. Josh Chudleigh 10. David Munro 11. Jack Kelleher 12. Bill Cullen 13. Andrew Niemoeller. Interchange: 14. Dan Clarke 15. Corey Jensen 16. Michael Barclay 17. Coen Hess.
TIGERS: 1. Mason Farrell 2. Tom Satterthwaite 3. Marion Seve 4. Nathan Milone 5. John Ogden 6. Te Maire Martin 7. Mitchell Moses 8. Dallas Graham 9. Manaia Cherrington 10. Keni Gavet 11. Salesi Funaki 12. Lamar Liolevave 13. Matthew Woods. Interchange: 14. Fosio Tatola 15. Jake Dooner 16. Tyler Cassell 17. Eli Levido 18. Sione Alofi.
RECENT HEAD-TO-HEAD: The Cowboys’ last trip to Campbelltown Stadium – midway through the 2012 season – was a memorable one. Struggling near the bottom of the table, they managed to knock off the then competition-leading Tigers 38-36 after trailing by 14 points with 11 minutes to go. The memories of their last meeting with the Tigers were not so pleasant. In round 26 last season, Wests stormed to a 48-14 victory in Townsville – the Cowboys’ heaviest defeat of the year. Overall, the head-to-head is 8-4 in the Tigers’ favour with the Sydney club winning the last three.
FORM GUIDE: The Cowboys ended a two-game losing streak by staging a remarkable recovery to beat the winless Gold Coast Titans 36-34 in round four but then lost 32-16 against the unbeaten Newcastle Knights on Monday evening. With two wins and three defeats, they are in 11th place, only outside the top eight on for and against. The Tigers have won three of their last four to climb to fifth and are coming off a 36-16 victory against last-placed Manly at the weekend. Coach Andrew Webster highlighted his team’s goal-line defence as one of the most pleasing features of that win.
KEY STAT: With the likes of Patrick Kaufusi and Halvor Harris missing due to injury, the Cowboys need their experienced forwards to step up and that’s what Corey Jensen did against Newcastle. In a man-of-the-match performance, he ran for 160 metres to go with 27 tackles.
WHO’S NEW FOR NQ: Coach Todd Wilson has named an unchanged squad of 17 to travel south.
WHO’S NEW FOR THE TIGERS: The Tigers have named the 17 players who took to the field against Manly and added Sione Alofi to a five-man interchange bench.
COWBOY TO WATCH: Former Mt Isa junior Coen Hess made a big impression on his debut against the Knights, running the ball strongly when he got his chance off the interchange bench (104 metres with two linebreaks and five tackle busts) and doing plenty of hard work in defence (20 tackles). At 17, he is the youngest Cowboy in the current lineup, but certainly didn’t look out of place and might turn into a regular in the NQ pack.
THE TIGERS’ DANGER: Halfback Mitchell Moses is destined for NRL football with the Tigers and is a member of their full-time squad this season. He represented the Australian Schoolboys in 2012 and played for the NSW Junior Origin squad last year.
THE COWBOYS’ FINAL SAY – COACH TODD WILSON:
Slow starts in the last two weeks have had us chasing points in the second half, which is something we want to avoid this week.
We need a strong defensive mentality early in the game against the Tigers if we are to build pressure on one of the front runners of the competition.
Errors were costly last week and we certainly need to tidy this area up.
We’ll need another strong performance from our hard-working middle men to contain the Tigers’ big pack and minimise the playmaking ability of halfback Mitchell Moses.
Our outside backs will face the challenge of containing some strong runners and nothing short of a committed defensive attitude will do.