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Date: 5.20pm, Friday 18 April
Venue: Central Coast Stadium
Live updates:
Referee: Lawrence McDonnell
Touch judges: Todd Smith, Nathan Smith
Main game: 7.35pm


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. Corey Jensen 13. Andrew Niemoeller. Interchange: 14. Dan Clarke 15. Bill Cullen 16. Michael Barclay 17. Coen Hess 18. Viliame Kikau.

SEA EAGLES: 1. Tom Trbojevic 2. Kyle Saunders 3. Latrell Schaumkel  4. Charlie Taylor 5. Luke Gosling 6. Will Pearsall 7. Zach Nicholls 8. Jack Delaney  9. Michael Stigg 10. James Mirceski  11. Leonati Feiloakitua 12. Liam Knight 13. James Parker. Interchange: 14. Craig McMurrich 15. Jordan Latham 16. Rhys Armstrong  17. Evan Lee 18. Jackson Kelly

RECENT HEAD-TO-HEAD: The Cowboys started off a long winning streak last season by beating the Sea Eagles 30-20 at Townsville Brothers in round 18 – their only meeting in 2013. Overall, the under-20s head-to-head is 5-2 in Manly’s favour.

FORM GUIDE: There’s very little between these two teams if you look at their records after six rounds in 2014. They’ve both won two matches out of six and have -66 for and against records. North Queensland have scored six more points but also conceded six more. Last weekend, the Cowboys led Wests Tigers 20-6 but were overrun in the second half to lose 38-24 at Campbelltown, while Manly held off Cronulla 36-32 at Brookvale Oval to end a three-game losing streak. They were beaten 36-16 by the Tigers a week earlier.

HOME AND AWAY: It’s the second away game in just six days for the Cowboys who have been victorious on one of their three road trips this year. The Sea Eagles are 2-2 at home.

KEY STAT: The Cowboys would love to get more metres out of their outside backs this week. Against the Tigers on Saturday, their centres and wingers combined for 315 metres compared to 508 gained by the Tigers.

WHO’S NEW FOR NQ: Rookie Fijian forward Viliame Kikau could make his return from a two-match suspension. He has been included on a five-man interchange bench.

WHO’S NEW FOR THE SEA EAGLES:  Manly coach David Heath has included Jackson Kelly on a five-man bench in the only personnel change for the Eagles. Jack Delaney has swapped with Evan Lee who will be on the bench.

COWBOY TO WATCH: Promoted from the bench to the starting pack, second-rower Corey Jensen displayed his outstanding work rate for the Cowboys against the Tigers at Campbelltown, picking up team highs in both metres gained (161 metres in 15 hit-ups) and 41 tackles with no misses. It followed on from a 160-metre effort a week earlier against Newcastle.

THE EAGLES’ DANGER: Fullback Tom Trbojevic can be a real handful for Manly. Against the Sharks on Sunday, he ran for a massive 190 metres with five tackle busts, a try assist, a linebreak and a linebreak assist. Two weeks ago, he came with a try-scoring double in a 46-24 loss to the Roosters.


Last week’s start against the Tigers will need to be repeated this week if we are to build pressure on the improving Manly team.

Our young pack was very effective against the mobile Tigers and will have the task of controlling Manly’s go forward in the round 7 clash at Gosford on Good Friday.

This week’s short turnaround will be used to focus on getting our end-of-sets tidied up.

A number of back-to-back 7 tackle sets, plus some poor defensive discipline lead to a low rate of possession in the second half, increasing the pressure from the Tigers.

The key for us this week will be first and foremost a strong defensive effort.

We’ll need to focus on working out of our end to earn field position and then putting a quality finish on our attacking sets.

Once again we have seen periods of great football from this team, however the challenge is to be mentally focussed enough to perform consistently for the entire 80 minutes.

Acknowledgement of Country

North Queensland Cowboys respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.