Cowboys v Raiders PREVIEW
NORTH QUEENSLAND TOYOTA COWBOYS v CANBERRA RAIDERS
3pm, Saturday 20 June, GIO Stadium
Referees: Ashley Klein, Chris Sutton
Video referee: Steve Chiddy Luke Phillips
Touch judges: Jeff Younis, Kasey Badger
Updates: Twitter @nthqldcowboys
Broadcast: Fox Sports 1, 4TOFM
Cowboys: 2nd on ladder (10 wins, 3 losses): 22 points (1 bye)
Raiders: 7th on ladder (6 wins, 7 losses): 14 points (1 bye)
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 Rory Kostjasyn, 15 John Asiata, 16 Ben Hannant, 17 Sam Hoare.
Raiders: 1 Jack Wighton 2 Edrick Lee 3 Jarrod Croker (c) 4 Sisa Waqa 5 Jordan Rapana 6 Blake Austin 7 Sam Williams 8 Paul Vaughan 9 Josh Hodgson 10 David Shillington 11 Josh Papalii 12 Sia Soliola 13 Shaun Fensom. Interchange: 14 Kurt Baptiste 15 Jarrad Kennedy 16 Frank-Paul Nuuausala 17 Shannon Boyd.
- The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys have won their past 10 matches, which continues a new outright club record. Their last defeat was in round three, a 44-22 loss to the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium.
- The teams have played each other 34 times, with Canberra winning 20 and North Queensland 14. The Raiders are 13 wins, four losses against the Cowboys at their home field. The Cowboys have won three of the past five matches between the clubs.
- North Queensland’s biggest win over the Raiders was a 40-18 triumph in Townsville in 2012.
- The Raiders have scored 54 tries this year, and have let in 52. The Cowboys have scored 49 tries and let in 45. The teams have been completing at 79% and 78% respectively.
Cowboys: Tautau Moga (knee), Scott Bolton (hand), Josh Chudleigh (shoulder), Javid Bowen (shoulder)
Raiders: Joel Edwards (toe)
MATCH UP – Sisa Waqa v Kane Linnett
One of the most damaging backline ball-runners will go up against one of the competition’s better defensive centres when Fijian wrecking ball Waqa goes head-to-head with cool Cowboy Linnett.
Waqa was destructive when he was at the Storm and he has carried that over into his time in the nation’s capital in scoring five tries from 12 appearances this season.
Linnett and his left-side winger partner Antonio Winterstein have formed an effective combination in recent seasons and have been performing strongly in recent weeks.
Linnett's great strength is his ability to read the backline play, and the sound defensive decisions that come off the back of that.
He will have his hands full stopping Waqa, who likes to bully his way through opposition defences.
Cowboys coach Paul Green: “I’ve got to make a decision on what’s best for the team in the long-term" – on selection issues heading into the round 15 match.
Raiders five-eighth Blake Austin: "The sad reality is when you have a good player like Joey Leilua coming into the club you have to find a spot for him" – on his new teammate, who is a mid-season transfer from the Knights, but won’t play tomorrow.