NORTH QUEENSLAND TOYOTA COWBOYS v PARRAMATTA EELS NYC
Date: 5.20pm, Friday 6 June
Venue: Pirtek Stadium
Live updates: twitter.com/nthqldcowboys
Referee: Chris Butler
Touch judges: Scott Murray, Rohan Best
Main game: 7.40pm
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 Dan Clarke, 10 Jack Kelleher (c), 11 Coen Hess, 12 Corey Jensen, 13 David Munro. Interchange: 14 Delayne Ashby, 15 Andrew Niemoeller, 16 Regan Greive, 17 Michael Barclay.
EELS: 1 Corey Makelim, 2 Leva Li, 3 Fou Tagilima, 4 Nathan Davis, 5 Halauafu Lavaka, 6 Mark Daoud, 7 Zach Dockar-Clay (c), 8 Fred Junior Mauala, 9 Alec Bush, 10 Kelepi Tanginoa, 11 Tepai Moeroa, 12 Eric Newbigging, 13 Jeff Markus. Interchange: 14 Tepai Tepu-Smith, 15 Brandon Raeli, 16 Jordan Muna, 17 Jack Anderson.
RECENT HEAD-TO-HEAD: It was a night to forget for the Cowboys when they last played Parramatta – in round eight at 1300SMILES Stadium. North Queensland were beaten 64-4 to record their worst loss since the under-20s competition was introduced. However it was much closer in the last meeting at Parramatta, the Eels triumphing 16-10. Parra lead 5-3 (with two draws) in the overall head-to-head record.
FORM GUIDE: The improving Cowboys are chasing three wins in a row after seeing off Canberra away (44-30) and Melbourne (22-20) at home in their last two starts. Second-placed Parramatta had their four-game winning streak surprisingly ended by Penrith (18-14) last Friday night.
HOME AND AWAY: The Eels have only lost one of six home matches in 2014, while the Cowboys’ best results have come away from Townsville. Todd Wilson’s team have won three and lost two on their travels this year, including back-to-back wins against the Sea Eagles and Raiders. This is their toughest away match so far.
KEY STAT: In the round eight encounter, the Eels totalled 1933 running metres, almost 1000 more than the Cowboys (993m).
WHO’S NEW FOR NQ: Queensland under-18 representative Cooper Bambling is back in the No.7 jersey after being rested for a week, with James Redman the unlucky player to drop out of last Saturday night’s victorious 17. Delayne Ashby switches from the starting lineup to the bench.
COWBOY TO WATCH: Fijian forward Viliame Kikau has been enjoying his role as starting prop and has been picking up some tries as well. This is a big test for him against a monster Parra pack.
PARRA’S DANGER: Prop Kelepi Tanginoa can be a huge handful for opposition defences to stop. Last Friday night, he rumbled for 228 metres in 24 hit-ups with eight tackle busts. He also led the Eels with 218 metres in the round eight clash with Cowboys.
THE COWBOYS’ FINAL SAY – COACH TODD WILSON:
This week’s task is about limiting the go forward of the Eels.
It’s about being willing to get our bodies in front of them and committing to turn up, play after play.
There have been some changes to both teams since we last met and our boys need to take confidence from our last two performances.
Our kicking game will be one of the key factors in building pressure on the Eels.
Kicking long and finding grass will turn their big pack around, forcing them to come out from deep in their own territory.
If the conditions allow us we will use the ball to get it in the hands of our quick men.
I believe we can trouble their big outside backs if we execute to our potential.
Our aim and biggest challenge will be to control possession and limit the Eel’s scoring opportunities and then be physical and committed defensively to control their attacking momentum.