NORTH QUEENSLAND TOYOTA COWBOYS v CANBERRA RAIDERS NYC
Date: 12.45pm, Sunday 25 May
Venue: GIO Stadium
Live updates: twitter.com/nthqldcowboys
Referee: Phil Henderson
Touch judges: Michael Laverty, Anthony Elliott
Main game: 3pm
North Queensland Toyota Cowboys: 1 Yamba Bowie, 2 Rainer Power, 3 Lenny Magey, 4 Conor Carey, 5 Scott Schulte, 6 Alex Grant, 7 Cooper Bambling, 8 Viliame Kikau, 9 Josh Chudleigh, 10 Michael Barclay, 11 Coen Hess, 12 Corey Jensen (c), 13 David Munro. Interchange: 14 Dan Clarke, 15 Kieran Quabba, 16 Andrew Niemoeller, 17 Jack Brock.
Canberra Raiders: 1 Ricky Garard, 2 Jake Wheeler, 3 Cleveland McGhie, 4 Jack Creith, 5 Lachlan Hurst, 6 Lachlan Lewis, 7 Matt Frawley, 8 Brett Solomon, 9 Dylan McGrath, 10 Mitchell Barnett, 11 Jared McIlwrick, 12 Scott Doyle, 13 Jamal Nchouki. Interchange: 14 Lachlan Croker, 15 Thoren Fidow-Kele, 16 Ben Maguire, 17 Jules Webley, 18 Ezra Howe.
RECENT HEAD-TO-HEAD: The Cowboys are looking to complete a season 2014 double against the Raiders after scoring a 42-26 win at 1300SMILES Stadium in round one. There were two narrow wins for Canberra last season – 18-14 in Townsville and 34-32 in Canberra, where a late conversion attempt that hit the post cost the underdog Cowboys a draw.
FORM GUIDE: The Cowboys, now in 14th on the ladder, have lost their last three, all at home. The Raiders have won three of their last four to improve their win-loss record to 5-5 and 10th place on the ladder, only outside the top eight on for and against. Their one loss in the past month was a 54-0 hammering from the NZ Warriors.
HOME AND AWAY: North Queensland’s under-20s have been better on their travels than at home this year, winning two of their four away matches so far. The Raiders have won three out of four at GIO Stadium, including a 34-16 defeat of Penrith on Sunday.
KEY STAT: All but one member of the Roosters’ backline ran for at least 140 metres against the Cowboys last weekend, headed up by 263 metres, including 16 tackle busts, by fullback Nene Macdonald. Those sort of numbers again on Sunday would be bad news for North Queensland.
WHO’S NEW FOR NQ: Cooper Bambling and Coen Hess are back in the NYC lineup after playing in the victorious Townsville Stingers team in last weekend’s under-18 national final. Michael Barclay will start in the front-row for the first time and Alex Grant switches back to five-eighth, his usual role in 2013, after playing at fullback for the opening 10 weeks. Conor Carey has been given his chance in the centres.
WHAT’S NEW FOR THE RAIDERS: Jake Wheeler comes back into the Raiders side on the wing for Thomas Cronan, while Jared McIlwrick will move into the back-row for Patrick Mago who will be playing for Souths Logan this weekend. Jack Creith returns from injury to take his place in the centres for the Raiders, while Ezra Howe has been named 18th man.
COWBOY TO WATCH: After scoring twice on debut, and picking up the coaches’ player of the match and play of the day awards, Yamba Bowie has been promoted to the starting team at fullback this weekend. He’s one of the quickest youngsters in the NYC squad and showed last week that he has plenty of heart in defence.
THE RAIDERS’ DANGER: Five-eighth Lachlan Lewis, a nephew of the great Wally Lewis, made the step up to Canberra’s NYC team from their SG Ball under-18s in the win against Penrith last week. He had a try assist and linebreak assist and should feel even more at home this weekend.
THE COWBOYS’ FINAL SAY – COACH TODD WILSON:
Last week’s performance was below the standard we expect and as a result there have been some significant changes to the playing roster for the trip to Canberra.
As mentioned, Yamba Bowie retains the fullback position after last week’s performance which was by far the highlight of the game.
The challenge for Yamba is to build on that experience and aim to play consistently well in the coming weeks.
Cooper Bambling and Coen Hess return to the NYC after their National 18s win last week and are expected to bring confidence and energy from that success.
Also given an opportunity this week, based on a two-try performance for Charters Towers last week in the local competition and a consistent positive attitude and work ethic, will be Conor Carey who will play at left centre.
A reshuffle in the halves and Michael Barclay and Bill Kikau starting in the front row completes the changes with the aim of getting off to a positive start in the nation’s capital.
Attitude is a choice and nothing short of a disciplined, resilient performance this week will be good enough.