NYC preview: Cowboys v Sea Eagles

North Queensland Toyota Cowboys v Manly Sea Eagles NYC
12pm, Saturday 18 July, Brookvale Oval (free entry) 
Referee: Liam Nichols
Touch judges: Todd Smith, Aaron Sheldrick
NRL Cowboys v Sea Eagles: 7pm, Monday 20 July, Brookvale Oval

TEAMS

Cowboys: 1. Yamba Bowie 2. Gideon Gela-Mosby 3. Akeripa Tia Kilifi 4. Conor Carey 5. Scott Schulte 6. Kyle Laybutt 7. Cooper Bambling 8. Viliame Kikau 9. Andrew Niemoeller 10. Ross Bella 11. Coen Hess 12. Temone Power 13. Kieran Quabba (c). Interchange: 14. Mitch Dunn 15. Brandon Smith 16. David Munro 17. Jordan Kenworthy.

Sea Eagles: 1. Nicho Hynes 2. Brad Parker 3. Addison Demetriou 4. Jesse Ramien 5. Bailey Shiach-Wise 6. Will Pearsall 7. Riley Travers (c) 8. Liam Knight 9. Hugh Pratt 10. Nick Lynn 11. Matt Douglas 12. James Parker 13. Darcy Cox. Interchange: 14. Billy Bainbridge 15. Jyi Seymour 16. Dallas Koen 17. Moses Novao-McGreal.

KEY FACTS

Todd Payten’s young Cowboys are back in action this weekend following an extended break due to the round 18 bye.

North Queensland's NYC team is in the middle of a real purple patch and will be shooting for a seventh-straight win at Brookvale Oval on Saturday.

They are currently second on the competition ladder with 12 wins, three losses and a draw from their 16 matches, with their last outing resulting in a 30-24 win over the Dragons at WIN Stadium.

The Sea Eagles are sixth on the ladder with seven wins, six losses and an incredible three draws, and will be looking for a morale-boosting win on their home ground following a narrow loss (22-18 to the Titans) and a draw (22-all v the Sharks) in their past two outings.

The Cowboys and Sea Eagles last clashed in round 12, at 1300SMILES Stadium, with the Cowboys prevailing 38-6 on that occasion.

Payten has made several personnel changes to the side that scrapped out a tough win in Wollongong a fortnight ago.

Significantly, Queensland under-20 representatives Gideon Gela-Mosby, Conor Carey and Coen Hess all return to the NYC fold after missing the Dragons game due to being in camp for the young Maroons.

Gela-Mosby and Carey will slot into their usual wing and centre positions respectively, while back-rower Hess will wear the No. 11 jersey after several weeks of playing for the Mackay Cutters in the Intrust Super Cup.

Hess revelled in the promotion to open rugby league, and will form an important part of the young Cowboys’ go-forward against the Sea Eagles.

While the NYC Cowboys gain Hess, they lose exciting prop Braden Uele, who has been promoted to play with the Mackay Cutters as they host the Burleigh Bears on Saturday.

Uele has been good in patches for most of the NYC season, but his consistency over the past several rounds has been “through the roof” according to coaching staff.

Elsewhere, fullback Yamba Bowie returns to the fold after several weeks out with a hamstring niggle, while hooker Brandon Smith continues his comeback from injury and will take his place on the bench in his second match back.

Payten said the round 18 bye was a good chance for the players to get over a few niggles, and after a good fortnight of training, he expected the team to be focused and keen to continue their strong form.

He added that dangers from Manly came on both sides of their attack with centres Addison Demetriou and Jesse Ramien the standout threats with ball in hand.

Payten wants to see his forwards dominate Manly’s pack in order to slow down supply and time to the halves, which will in turn limit the amount of ball and space afforded to Demetriou and Ramien.

COACH TODD PAYTEN: “We’re really looking at Coen Hess to be a leader and bring all he has learned in the Intrust Super Cup back to the NYC.”