The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys have been allocated match days and times for rounds 21-26 of the 2015 NRL Telstra Premiership.
The NRL today released the draw for the final six rounds, a period in which the Cowboys host three games and play away three times.
The Cowboys draw is as follows:
- Round 21 v Raiders: 5.30pm, Saturday 1 August, 1300SMILES Stadium
- Round 22 v Sharks: 5.30pm, Saturday 8 August, Remondis Stadium
- Round 23 v Rabbitohs: 7.45pm, Thursday 13 August, 1300SMILES Stadium
- Round 24 v Warriors: 5.30pm (Qld), Saturday 22 August, Mt Smart Stadium
- Round 25 v Storm: 7.30pm, Saturday 29 August, AAMI Park
- Round 26 v Titans: 7.30pm, Saturday 5 September, 1300SMILES Stadium
The round 21 Saturday twilight game against the Raiders at 1300SMILES Stadium on 1 August is shaping as a real blockbuster with Canberra undoubtedly itching for revenge after the Johnathan Thurston-led Cowboys snatched a last-second round 15 win in the nation’s capital.
Similarly, the Cowboys will be eyeing off the round 22 match against the Sharks at Remondis Stadium given the Sharks were the team responsible for snapping the club’s 11-game winning streak at 1300SMILES Stadium on 27 June.
Three of the six matches are against teams currently outside the top eight (Sharks, Raiders, Titans), while the matches against Rabbitohs (fifth), Warriors (seventh) and Storm (sixth) shape as key games in determining the ultimate makeup of the finals.
Cowboys CEO Greg Tonner said the club faced some challenges ahead of the round 23 Thursday night Rabbitohs match on 11 August given over 3,500 of the club’s members live outside Townsville.
“We’ve got some fantastic members and fans who travel considerable distances to come to Cowboys home games,” Tonner said.
“We’ve already had one Monday night home game (v Storm in round 4) and we’ve got another coming up (v Eels in round 20), which is difficult for those 3,500 members who have traditional Monday-Friday jobs.
“That’s why we need to have as many of our home games as possible on a Saturday.
"Moving forward to the 2016 season, we’ll continue to lobby the NRL to take into account our unique circumstances when compiling the regular season draw.”
Tonner added that the round 23 Thursday night match against the defending NRL champions would be a perfect chance to muster up members and fans to cheer on the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys.
“I’m issuing a call to rally the troops for the match against the Bunnies,” Tonner said.
“We want to see 1300SMILES Stadium packed to the rafters with our beloved and passionate members and fans.”
Cowboys General Manager – Football Peter Parr pointed out that the club still had two five-day turnarounds to contend with: round 20 (v Eels on a Monday) into round 21 (v Raiders on a Saturday) and round 22 (v Sharks on a Saturday) into round 23 (v Rabbitohs on a Thursday).
“Given our travel challenges and the tyranny of distance, it’s going to be tough, but we’ve got a very good football department who will put plans in place for these logistical hurdles to have as little impact as possible,” Parr said.
The Cowboys’ next game is against the Dragons at WIN Stadium in Wollongong this Saturday.