NYC preview: Cowboys v Sharks

Cronulla Sharks v North Queensland Toyota Cowboys NYC
Round 22, 3:15pm, Saturday 8 August, Remondis Stadium

Referee: Jon Stone
Touch judges: Dan Olford and Todd Smith

TEAMS

Cowboys: 1.Kalyn Ponga 2. Gideon 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. Jordan Kenworthy. Interchange: 14. Mitch Dunn 15. Brandon Smith 16. David Munro 17. Bill Cullen.

Sharks: 1. Joshua Addo-Carr 2. Levy Sopi 3. Curtis Scott 4. Keenan Yorston 5. Semesi Vea 6. Jaiden Brown 7. Brad Deitz 8. Alec Susino 9. Jayden Brailey 10. Harrison Muller 11. Anthony Moraitis 12. Jesse Savage 13. Jaden Clarke Interchange: 15. Jayden McDonogh 16. Ashleigh Nisbet 17. Jaimin Jolliffe 18. Daniel Liddicoat.

KEY FACTS

The under-20s Cowboys racked up the second biggest win in NYC history last weekend with their 78-12 demolition of the Raiders including 14 tries for a ninth straight National Youth Competition victory.

The scoring rampage included eight four-pointers in the first half, while electric winger Gideon Mosby raced in four of his own, to be one try off equalling the all-time NYC record for tries in a season. Mosby currently has 28, and a likely four-pointer against the Sharks this Saturday will see him equal Jake Mullaney’s efforts for the young Wests Tigers in 2009. Mosby scored a double against the Sharks in Round 16, with the Cowboys winning that last encounter between the two sides 56-10.

The under-20s’ fine form (second on ladder with 15 wins, three losses and a draw and 35 points), coupled with the National Rugby League team’s second placing on that ladder, has the club leading the club championship, which combines the points tallies of the two competitions.

Cowboys five-eighth Kyle Laybutt continues to blossom in the starting role after joining the club several weeks into the season. For his first few outings, Laybutt was used off the bench, but made his starting debut in that 56-10 over the Sharks in Round 16. Since then, the Bundaberg product has gone from strength to strength and last weekend against the Raiders put in a man-of-the-match effort, revelling in receiving the bulk of the ball in good field position with the injury-enforced absence of starting halfback Cooper Bambling.

Bambling returns this weekend, with the potential for the young Cowboys to post another big scoring - given they scored 78 points last start WITHOUT their chief playmaker – shaping as a real possibility.

The Sharks are currently in 13th place on the ladder with seven wins, 11 losses and a draw, and would need to win most, if not all, of their remaining five matches to figure in the finals. A morale-boosting 22-20 upset win over the Warriors last-start was a good start.

In other Cowboys positional changes, promising teenager Kalyn Ponga makes his starting debut, at fullback, after impressing in his first two NYC games off the bench. Ponga replaces incumbent Yamba Bowie, who again has succumbed to a hamstring injury which ruled him out for several weeks in the middle part of the season.

COACH TODD PAYTEN: “We were in fine attacking touch last week. The challenge is replicating that, as well as being strong in defence.”