NYC preview: Cowboys v Raiders
North Queensland Cowboys v Canberra Raiders NYC
Saturday 1 August, 3:15pm, 1300SMILES Stadium
Referee: Michael Gordon
Touch Judges: Wyatt Raymond and Giulian Fichera
NRL Cowboys v Raiders: 5:30pm, Saturday 1 August, 1300SMILES Stadium
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 (c) 10. Ross Bella 11. Coen Hess 12. Temone Power 13. Jordan Kenworthy. Interchange: 14. Kalyn Ponga 15. Bill Cullen 16. Brandon Smith 17. David Munro
Raiders: 1. Tre Williams 2. Thomas Cronan 3. Chevi Ellis 4. Cameron Booth 5. Jack Hickson 6. Lachlan Lewis 7. Dylan McGrath 8. Morgan Boyle 9. Zac Woolford 10. Cleveland McGhie 11. Jack Williams 12. Kalani Going 13. Brett Solomon. Interchange: 14. Jared McIlwrick 15. Daniel Dole 16. Sione Afemui 17. Taniela Moa
Todd Payten will take a largely unchanged team into the Saturday afternoon’s Round 21 National Youth Competition match against the Raiders at 1300SMILES Stadium.
Regular captain Kieran Quabba was a late injury withdrawal in last weekend’s 50-6 win over the Eels, with the lock again out of this weekend’s team. The man who replaced him in the Round 20 fixture, Jordan Kenworthy, will again fill the role, while promising young utility Kalyn Ponga will again come off the bench after making his National Youth Competition debut last weekend.
The last time the young Cowboys met the Raiders was in Round 20, with North Queensland running away with the game in the second half, defeating Canberra 38-16 after trailing 16-12 at halftime.
Payten’s young charges are shooting for a ninth straight win and currently sit in second place on the competition ladder on 33 points with 14 wins, three losses and a draw from 18 matches. They occupy outright second after the third-placed Broncos dropped a match to the 14th-placed Titans last weekend. That result had given the Cowboys club the slight edge over Brisbane in the race for the club championship, which combines National Rugby League and NYC results. The Raiders (10 wins, eight losses) are currently in fourth spot on the ladder (24 points).
Cowboys winger and try scoring machine Gideon Gela-Mosby was again amongst the tries last, scoring against the Eels last weekend to take his tally to 24 for the year. He is the leading try-scorer in the competition by four tries, but has a teammate hot on his heels in the form of bulldozing prop Viliame Kikau. The Fijian international scored a double against the Eels and now has 18 tries in 2015 to sit third on the top try-scorers’ list start.
Aside from Gela-Mosby and Kikau’s try-scoring exploits, the Cowboys’ stellar season means several other players are featuring in statistical categories lists for the competition. Mosby’s feelow winger Scott Schulte has crossed four times this season to be equal fourth on the list alongside five other players. Backrower Coen Hess has produced the equal-most turnovers in tackles, with 12. Halfback Cooper Bambling is statistically the competition’s sixth best goal kicker, with 52 conversions from 78 attempts, or a 67% success rate. Bambling also figures in the top 10 for try assist (10) and line-break assists (10).
COACH TODD PAYTEN: “We’re getting better at playing good quality rugby league for longer periods.”