NYC preview: Cowboys v Titans
NORTH QUEENSLAND TOYOTA COWBOYS NYC v GOLD COAST TITANS
Saturday 5 September, 5.15pm
Referee: Nick Morel
Touch judges: Wyatt Raymond and Giulian Fichera
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. Brandon Smith 10. Braden Uele 11. Coen Hess 12. Temone Power 13. Jordan Kenworthy. Interchange: 14. Mitch Dunn 15. Kieran Quabba (c) 16. David Munro 17. Ross Bella 18. Bill Cullen.
TITANS: 1. Shaun Hudson 2. Greg Lelesiuao 3. Rory Humphreys 4. Brian Kelly 5. Tyronne Davis 6. Daniel Schwass 7. Brayden Torpy 8. Oshae Tuiasau 9. Karl Lawton 10. Shane Gillham 11. Hayden Schwass 12. Shane Wright 13. Parahi Wilson Interchange: 14. CJosh Berkers 15. Anthony Colman 16. Rhys Duke 17 Chris Law 18. Jerome Veve.
The Round 26 game between the NYC Cowboys and the Titans shapes as the match that will finalise NQ’s minor premiership claim as well as all-but finalise which club will win the 2015 club championship.
The red-hot Cowboys are on a 13-match winning tear and will claim the minor premiership with a win over the 13th-placed Titans (eight wins, 15 losses) on Saturday night.
The Cowboys (19 wins, three losses, one draw) sit on 43 competition points and Penrith (19 wins, four losses) on 42.
The Cowboys are on 79 points in the club championship race, two clear of the Broncos. The club championship combines the standing of clubs’ NRL and NYC teams.
The Cowboys have an overall points differential of +584, some 83 points ahead of the Broncos, so they should claim the club title even if both teams finish the regular season on equal points.
Saturday’s game against the Titans will be a chance for the Cowboys to finetune their defence heading into the finals. Traditionally, the team with the best defence tends to triumph in the post-season.
Gold Coast can be a dangerous attacking side and boast dangerous playmaking fullback Shaun Hudson, NSW under-20 representative centre Brian Kelly and a long-range tryscoring specialist in winger Tyronne Davis.
Five-eight Daniel Schwass and his brother, backrower Hayden, have been playing up in the Intrust Super Cup for Burleigh in recent weeks, while prop Shane Gillham has been doing the same for Tweed Heads.
Gold Coast backup hooker Chris Law was part of the Cowboys NYC program last year.
COACH TODD PAYTEN: “The message this weekend will be simple – do what’s worked for us well to give ourselves a great springboard for what’s going to be a tough finals series.”