North Queensland Toyota Cowboys v Manly Sea Eagles
Round 12, 2015 NRL Telstra Premiership
7.30pm, Saturday 30 May, 1300SMILES Stadium
• Western & Eastern gates open: 3.15pm
• Schoolgirls U14s Townsville v Cairns: 3.30pm-3.50pm
• Schoolgirls U14s Townsville v Mackay: 4pm-4.20pm
• Schoolgirls U14s Cairns v Mackay: 4.30pm-4.50pm
• 5pm: All gates open
• 5.15pm: NYC Cowboys v Sea Eagles
• 7.30pm: NRL Cowboys v Sea Eagles
Referees: Ashley Klein, Henry Perenara
Video referees: Steve Chiddy, Steve Folkes
Touch judges: Michael Wise, Belinda Sleeman
Broadcast: Fox Sports 1, 4TOFM, twitter.com/nthqldcowboys
Cowboys: 4th on ladder (8 wins, three losses)
Sea Eagles: 15th on ladder (3 wins, 7 losses)
Cowboys: 1 Lachlan Coote, 2 Matthew Wright, 3 Justin O’Neill, 4 Kane Linnett, 5 Antonio Winterstein, 6 Michael Morgan, 7 Johnathan Thurston (c), 8 Matt Scott (c), 9 Jake Granville, 10 James Tamou, 11 Gavin Cooper, 12 Ethan Lowe, 13 Jason Taumalolo. Interchange: 14 Ray Thompson, 15 Ben Spina, 16 Ben Hannant, 17 Sam Hoare, 18 John Asiata, 19 Rory Kostjasyn, 20 Patrick Kaufusi.
Sea Eagles: 1 Brett Stewart, 2 Jorge Taufua, 3 Jamie Lyon (c), 4 Steve Matai, 5 Peta Hiku, 6 Tom Symonds, 7 Kieran Foran, 8 Jake Trbojevic, 9 Matt Ballin, 10 Luke Burgess, 11 Blake Leary, 12 Justin Horo, 13 Dumanis Lui. Interchange: 14 Feleti Mateo, 15 Willie Mason, 16 James Hasson, 17 Ligi Sao.
Cowboys: Robert Lui (hamstring), Scott Bolton (hand), Tautau Moga (knee)
Sea Eagles: Josh Starling (ankle), Jess Sene-Lefao (shoulder), Daly Cherry-Evans (shoulder), Brenton Lawrence (back), Jamie Buhrer (knee), Clinton Gutherson (knee)
- The Cowboys have won their past eight matches, a new outright club record.
- Last time the two teams met was round 26, 2014 at 1300SMILES Stadium – the Cowboys won 30-16. Kyle Feldt scored two, while Antonio Winterstein, Kane Linnett and Robert Lui also scored. Johnathan Thurston kicked five from six.
- In-form Cowboys fullback Lachlan Coote comes into Saturday's match averaging 162 running metres per game this season, ahead of co-captain Matt Scott (157m) and back-rower Jason Taumalolo.
- In the 12 games between the Cowboys and Sea Eagles at 1300SMILES Stadium, honours are split with six wins apiece.
MATCH UPS – James Tamou v Willie Mason
Cowboys prop James Tamou will be determined to continue his strong form after being close to New South Wales’ best in a narrowly-beaten Blues side in Wednesday’s State of Origin match.
Tamou ran for 96m from 11 runs and made 33 tackles in 49 minutes of playing time.
His first stint was particularly damaging and his offload to fullback Josh Dugan led to the Blues’ first try to Josh Morris.
Tamou relishes backing up after Origin and the Cowboys will again look to him to lead from the front with strong ball carries through the middle.
In his way will be enigmatic Sea Eagles forward Willie Mason, who will come off the bench for Geoff Toovey.
Mason loves a physical challenge and won’t back down from the task at hand given his team has so many key forwards out injured.
Cowboys coach Paul Green: "You can’t get overconfident about Manly. They’ve won two out of their last three and the game they lost was by a point."
Manly coach Geoff Toovey: “We can’t keep trying to band-aid the situation” – on the possibility of some last-minute changes to combat a long injury list.