NORTH QUEENSLAND TOYOTA COWBOYS v NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS NYC
3.15pm, Saturday 18 April, 1300SMILES Stadium
Live updates: twitter.com/nthqldcowboys
Referee: Peter Gough
Touch judges: Wyatt Raymond, Chris Nitso
1.15pm: Western & Eastern gates open
1.20pm: Army Thunder v Palm Island Skipjacks (Bill Coolburra Shield)
3.00pm: All gates open
3.15pm: NYC Cowboys v Warriors
5.30pm: NRL Cowboys v Warriors
Cowboys: 1 Yamba Bowie 2 Gideon Mosby 3 Akeripa Tia Kilifi 4 Conor Carey 5 Sam Smith 6 Ty Carucci 7 Cooper Bambling 8 Viliame Kikau 9 Brandon Smith 10 Braden Uele 11 Coen Hess 12 Andrew Niemoeller 13 Kieran Quabba (c). Interchange: 14 Jordan Kenworthy 15 David Munro 16 Ross Bella 17 Bill Cullen.
Warriors: 1 Brad Abbey 2 Tomasi Aoke 3 Semsi Tyrell 4Marata Niukore 5 Paul Ulberg 6 Ma’afoaeata Hingano 7 Erin Clark 8 Bunty Afoa 9 Nathaniel Roache 10 Toafofoa Sipley 11 Ofahiki Ogden 12 Matiu Love-Henry 13 Jazz Tevaga. Interchange: 14 Sheldon Pitama 15 Paul Tuli 16 Amoni Tufui 17 Mattais Heimuli 18 Kauri Aupouri.
The NYC Cowboys returned from Sydney this week with a hard-earned two points after their 38-24 win over the Rabbitohs. Ty Carucci was instrumental in the away win – the number six had three line-break assists and two try assists. Prop Viliame Kikau again laid the platform up front, the big number 8 finishing with 14 hit-ups for 163 metres and five tackle busts.
There may be some extra motivation for Braden Uele and Brandon Smith against their New Zealand opponents this week. The forward and hooker were part of the Warriors system early in their careers so no doubt they’ll have a bit to prove to their old club.
The Warriors will be up in confidence after their 38-4 victory over Wests Tigers but that was at home, and this is a tough road trip for the Kiwi side. They have won only one of their away games this season. Both teams sit on eight points on the ladder, with the Cowboys having the better for-and-against record.
COACH'S LAST WORD – Todd Payten: “This will be a very good challenge for us physically against the reigning premiers. The Warriors are a big pack across the park and rely heavily on their power running and offloads. The hooking battle will really have a major part in the outcome.”