NORTH QUEENSLAND TOYOTA COWBOYS v SYDNEY ROOSTERS NYC
Date: 5.15pm, Saturday 17 May
Venue: 1300SMILES Stadium
Live updates: twitter.com/nthqldcowboys
Referee: Jon Stone
Touch judges: Dan Munroe, Joshua Kersevani
Main game: 7.30pm
COWBOYS: 1 Alex Grant, 2 Rainer Power, 3 Lenny Magey, 4 Samsen O’Neill, 5 Scott Schulte, 6 Delayne Ashby, 7 Dan Clarke, 8 Jack Brock, 9 Josh Chudleigh, 10 David Munro, 11 Bill Cullen, 12 Corey Jensen ©, 13 Andrew Niemoeller. Interchange: 14 Yamba Bowie, 15 Kieran Quabba, 16 Viliame Kikau, 17 Michael Barclay, 18 Hayden Crowley.
ROOSTERS: 1. Arthur Currie, 2. Misieli Vaikeli, 3. Brendan Elliott, 4. Taane Milne, 5. Jack Goodsell, 6. Nene Macdonald, 7. Tyler Cornish, 8. Willis Meehan, 9. Alex Thomas, 10. Jokatama Dokonivalu, 11. Vincent Leuluai, 12. Alex Lyons, 13. Jakiel Mariner. Interchange: 14. Harry Vanderhart, 15. Mitchell Mamary, 16. Addison Demetriou, 17. Piki Rogers, 18. Jake Lewis, 20. Braeden Uele.
RECENT HEAD-TO-HEAD: It’s exactly a year since these two clubs last played. In round 10 in 2013, the Roosters won 24-14 in Townsville after the Cowboys surrendered a 10-point lead. The overall record is 5-4 in North Queensland’s favour with three wins out of five at 1300SMILES Stadium.
FORM GUIDE: The Cowboys, now in 13th on the ladder, have lost their last two, both at home. However, last Friday night’s 22-14 loss to fourth-placed Brisbane was a massive improvement on the previous round’s record-breaking 64-4 loss to Parramatta. The sixth-placed Roosters are also coming off back-to-back losses – 22-18 against Wests Tigers and 24-22 against St George Illawarra.
HOME AND AWAY: The Cowboys have been victorious in just one of five matches at 1300SMILES Stadium in 2014 – and have lost their last four – while the Roosters are 2-3 on their travels this season.
KEY STAT: After missing 46 tackles in the loss to Parramatta, the Cowboys more than halved their tally with just 19 misses against the Broncos.
WHO’S NEW FOR NQ: Yamba Bowie, who came to the Cowboys from the Torres Strait Islands via St Brendan’s College in Yeppoon, will make his debut off the interchange bench. At home in the halves or at fullback, Bowie possesses plenty of pace and elusiveness and was a member of the St Brendan’s team that won last year’s Aaron Payne Cup. Kieran Quabba and Michael Barclay are set to return on the interchange bench with Hayden Crowley a chance to regain a recall after being included in the 18-man squad.
WHAT’S NEW FOR THE ROOSTERS: PNG international Nene Macdonald has shifted from fullback into five-eighth to partner vice-captain Tyler Cornish in the halves in the absence of the injured Jackson Hastings. Macdonald's place at the back has been taken by Arthur Currie, who's shifted from the left wing into the No. 1 shirt. Currie's place has been taken by Misielli Vaikeli, who will make his first appearance of the year. In the forward pack, Willis Meehan moves from the back row into prop with Braden Uele shifting on to the bench. Meehan's absence in the back-row sees Alex Lyons named to start in the No. 12 shirt and NSW Blues under-20s representative Jakiel Mariner returns after a week out with a rib injury.
COWBOY TO WATCH: Speedy winger Rainer Power had some very promising moments in his NYC debut last week, including scoring a try in the 51st minute and breaking the line to almost set up another later in the second half. His seven hit-ups yielded 98 metres and four tackle busts.
THE ROOSTERS’ DANGER: Centre Tianne Milne was credited with a massive 195 metres carrying the ball against the Tigers. He also had two try assists, a linebreak and a linebreak assist.
THE COWBOYS’ FINAL SAY – COACH TODD WILSON:
After a much improved performance last week, we are looking to build and improve against the Roosters in Round 10.
Suspensions, injuries and the national 18s final have had an effect on the make-up of this week’s team, however it will offer an opportunity to a few players to return or debut in the NYC.
Yamba Bowie will get his first chance from the interchange bench as we look to utilise his speed and agility against the big Roosters pack.
Kieran Quabba will return from injury and the improving Michael Barclay will get to add to his first few solid starts in previous weeks.
Controlling the Roosters play-the-ball speed will be a major focus if we are to minimise their scoring opportunities and build pressure.
This week’s training has been extra physical in preparation to stop the likes of Willis Meehan and Jakiel Mariner from the Roosters.
Last week’s defensive performance was solid however a few lapses led directly to Broncos tries, a situation we aim to avoid this week.
Execution, completions and quality end of sets are always a focus with the ball in hand and this week is no exception.
Dan Clarke and Delayne Ashby will be given the duties of getting the team around the park and making the most of any opportunities that are presented.
The Roosters always present a quality side and we expect no different this week.
Our boys will be up to the challenge and ready to put their best foot forward.