Cowboys v Warriors PREVIEW!

NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS v NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Saturday, 22 August, 5.30pm QLD time/ 7.30pm NZ time
Mt Smart Stadium

Referee: Matt Cecchin
Assistant referee: Adam Devcich
Video referee: Shayne Hayne Steve Folkes
Touch judges: Rick Macfarlane Kena Waikai

NYC Warriors v Cowboys
Saturday, 22 August, 3.15pm QLD time/ 5.15pm NZ time
Mt Smart Stadium

TEAMS

Cowboys: 3rd on ladder (15 wins, 6 losses): 34 points (2 byes)
 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. John Asiata, 12. Ethan Lowe, 13. Jason Taumalolo. Interchange: 14. Rory Kostjasyn, 15. Coen Hess, 16. Scott Bolton, 17. Ben Hannant.

Warriors: 10th on ladder (9 wins, 12 losses): 22 points (2 byes)
1. Sam Tomkins, 2. Ken Maumalo, 3. Dominique Peyroux, 4. Solomone Kata, 5. Jonathan Wright, 6. Chad Townsend, 7. Tuimoala Lolohea, 8. Jacob Lillyman, 9. Nathan Friend, 10. Albert Vete, 11. Sione Lousi, 12. Ryan Hoffman, 13. Simon Mannering (c). Interchange: 14. Konrad Hurrell, 15. Odene Thompson, 16. Sam Lisone, 17. Charlie Gubb, 18. Matthew Allwood.

MATCH FACTS

• The Cowboys are equal second in the competition for ball security, with a 78% completion rate. • The Warriors are equal 13th at 73%.

• The Cowboys get through their sets too. In season 2015, North Queensland has completed 645 sets, the highest number in the competition. The Warriors are at 585 completed sets, placing them 14th in the comp on that scare.

• The Warriors have an average of 14,731 people attend their home matches in season 2015, the seventh best average crowd figure in the competition.

• Warriors captain Simon Mannering is the second-most prolific defender in the NRL. He has made 958 tackles this season, behind only Broncos hooker Andrew McCullough (982).

• Mannering also figures high up on the offloads stats, making 42 this year, the third best in the league. Teammate Ben Matulino is second on the offloads list with 49, one behind Panther Bryce Cartwright (50).

• Matulino also has the fifth most number of hit-ups in the comp with 332.

• Cowboys co-captain Johnathan Thurston leads the league in both try assists (24) and line-break assists (23).

• Thurston is the NRL’s third most prolific general play kicker with 219, behind Bronco Ben Hunt (287) and Sea Eagles Daly Cherry-Evans (221).

• Thurston and halves partner Michael Morgan equal the competition as the leading turnover tacklers (15 apiece).

• Morgan is running fourth in line breaks, with 17.

• Cowboys hooker Jake Granville is the second-busiest NRL player out of dummy-alf, having made 133 runs, 57 fewer than Rabbitohs No. 9 Isaac Luke.

• Cowboys fullback Lachlan Coote leads the competition for kick receipts with 233, 10 more than Roosters No.1 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.

• Head to head, the Warriors have the edge over the Cowboys, 18-16. The record is 13-5 the Warriors favour at Mt Smart Stadium.

• The Cowboys defeated the Warriors 28-24 in round 7, but the Warriors have won five of the past 8 clashes between the two teams.

• The Warriors’ biggest win over the Cowboys was a 52-6 triumph in Auckland in 1996, while the NQ downed NZ 52-12 in 2012.

MATCH UPS – Jason Taumalolo v Simon Mannering      

In a classic young bull versus old bull match-up, hulking Cowboys lock Jason Taumalolo will lock horns with Warriors captain Simon Mannering, 28. The veteran backrower is one of the NRL’s most consistent proven performers and leads by example in a team that is prone to inconsistency. If he plays well, his young forward pack usually follows. Taumalolo is the young buck full of raw talent and power and his charges through the centre of the park have the potential to get opposition defences reeling. If the bullocking New Zealand product can bend the line, the Warriors could have a long time ahead of them.

FINAL WORD

Paul Green:  “It’s a tough road trip for us with the amount of travel involved, but we’ve had a long turnaround … so we’re looking forward to the game on Saturday.”

Tuimoala Lolohea (Warriors halfback): “It’s going to be a real tough challenge for me. You know what kind of player he is.” – on going head to head with Johnathan Thurston.

CASUALTY WARD

COWBOYS: Tautau Moga (knee) – indefinite; Cameron King (knee) – indefinite; Gavin Cooper (eye socket) – Round 25; Scott Bolton (pec) – Round 25.

WARRIORS: Sam Rapira (suspended) – Round 26; Ben Mutulino (suspended) – Round 26; Manu Vatuvei (shoulder) – indefinite; Ngani Laumape (knee)/Thomas Leuluai (knee); Ben Henry (knee)/Shaun Johnson (ankle) – season.