NYC preview: Cowboys v Rabbitohs

NORTH QUEENSLAND TOYOTA COWBOYS v SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS
NYC Round 24
5.15pm, Saturday 23 August, ANZ Stadium

Live updates: twitter.com/nthqldcowboys
Referees: Lawrence McDonnell
Sideline officials: James Vella, Jimmy Oliveira
Main game: 7.30pm

TEAMS

Cowboys: 1 Jared Verny, 2 Hayden Crowley, 3 Lenny Magey, 4 Scott Schulte, 5 Conor Carey, 6 Ty Carucci, 7 Yamba Bowie, 8 Jack Kelleher (c), 9 Josh Chudleigh, 10 Viliame Kikau, 11 Coen Hess, 12 Corey Jensen, 13 David Munro. Interchange: 14 Regan Grieve, 15 Andrew Niemoeller, 16 Bill Cullen, 17 Ben Mathiou, 18 Jordan Kenworthy.

Rabbitohs: 1. Devon Makoare-Boyce 2. Tom Hughes 3. Tevita Cottrell 4. John Olive 5. Sam Manuleleua 6. Jordie Hedges 7. Brad Wall 8. Zane Musgrove 9. Aaron Booth 10. Brock Gray 11. Tulsa Saumamao 12. Jack Gosiewski 13. Cheyne Whitelaw. Interchange: 14. Elliot Gorman 15. Ofa Felila 16. Clayton Williams 17. Eden Syme 18. Wallace Tangiiti. 

RECENT HEAD-TO-HEAD: The Rabbitohs secured a 28-18 victory at 1300SMILES Stadium in round 16 even though Viliame Kikau scored twice for North Queensland. Overall, the head-to-head is 5-2 in Souths’ favour with two draws.

FORM GUIDE: The Cowboys had won three in a row until they lost 38-16 to Penrith on Monday night to drop out of finals contention. Meanwhile, Souths have gone win-loss-win-loss over the past month and are in 10th place, two positions and two victories ahead of the North Queenslanders. They lost 36-32 against Brisbane in their last start.

HOME AND AWAY: The Rabbitohs have won as many games on the road (five) as they have at home this season, while the Cowboys, who have the handicap of a five-day turnaround, have a 4-7 win-loss record away from 1300SMILES Stadium.

KEY STAT: Too many missed tackles has been a big issue for the Cowboys for most of the season. They committed 46 on Monday night, 20 more than the Panthers and an increase of 17 on the previous round’s strong win against Wests Tigers.

WHO’S NEW FOR NQ: Queensland Schoolboys representative Jordan Kenworthy is in line for his NYC debut after being included on a five-man interchange bench, while Viliame Kikau is back from a one-game suspension. Regan Grieve returns from an ankle injury, joining a bench that also includes Bill Cullen who has earned a recall.

COWBOY TO WATCH: Yamba Bowie has a new job this week, taking over the No.7 jersey from Cooper Bambling who is sidelined with a shoulder injury. Speedy off the mark and clever with the ball in hand, he’ll be looking to cause some havoc in the Rabbitohs’ defence.

RABBITOH TO WATCH: Back-rower Jack Gosiewski was a stand-out in last week’s narrow loss to Brisbane. His statistics for the night included 14 hit-ups for 183 metres with five tackle busts, a try and a linebreak. He also scored in the round 16 clash with the Cowboys.

THE COWBOYS’ FINAL SAY – COACH TODD WILSON:  

This week is about focusing on consistency, especially in defence.

Our win against the Tigers the week before was based on a committed defensive attitude which wasn’t there against the well-structured Panthers team. 

A very short preparation this week means we have one training session to get it right before we head back to Sydney on Friday.

With a new halves pairing again it is important that we are clear on our jobs in attack and that we find the defensive confidence and commitment of previous weeks and apply it to the Rabbitohs.

Other changes have been forced due to injury and I would expect that if Regan, Bill or Jordan are given an opportunity, they will put their best foot forward and make the most of it.