FINALS: Broncos v Cowboys Preview!

BRISBANE BRONCOS v NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Saturday, 12 September, 7.55pm
Suncorp Stadium
Referee
: Gerard Sutton 
Assistant referee: Gavin Badger
Video referee: Steve Chiddy and Luke Patten
Touch judges: Brett Suttor and Michael Wise

TEAMS

COWBOYS3rd on ladder (17 wins, seven losses): 38 points (2 byes) 1. Lachlan Coote, 2. Kyle Feldt, 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. Gavin Cooper, 12. Ethan Lowe, 13. Jason Taumalolo. Interchange: 14. Rory Kostjasyn, 15. John Asiata, 16. Scott Bolton, 17. Ben Hannant, 18. Ray Thompson, 19. Matthew Wright.

BRONCOS: 2nd on ladder (17 wins, seven losses): 38 points (2 byes) 1. Darius Boyd, 2.Corey Oates, 3. Jack Reed, 4. Justin Hodges (c), 5. Jordan Kahu, 6. Anthony Milford, 7. Ben Hunt, 8. Sam Thaiday, 9. Andrew McCullough, 10. Adam Blair, 11. Alex Glenn, 12. Matt Gillett, 13. Corey Parker. Interchange: 14. Jarrod Wallace, 15. Mitchell Dodds, 16. Joe Ofahengaue, 17. Kodi Nokirima.

MATCH FACTS

• The Cowboys have split their past eight matches, including a 1-1 split in 2015. The Broncos routed the Cowboys 44-22 in Round 3 while Cowboys prevailed 31-20 in Round 10. Both of those games were home wins.

• Brisbane’s biggest win over NQ was in 1998 at ANZ Stadium, with the team winning 58-4. The Cowboys turned the tables in 2006 with a 36-4 triumph at Suncorp Stadium.

• The all-time head-to-head record between the team is 28 wins to Brisbane, 11 wins to North Queensland and two draws. At Suncorp Stadium, the Broncos have won seven to the Cowboys’ four.

• The Cowboys have scored 13 more points (587 to 574) than the Broncos this season.

• Broncos have conceded fewer points, 379 to 454.

• Both teams have scored 101 tries in 2015.

• Of those tries, the Broncos score significantly more of them from mid-range (21-50m out: the count is 20-13 from that zone. Similarly, the Cowboys outstrip the Broncos in close-range (0-20m) efforts, 75 to 68. Both teams have crossed for 13 long-range (51-100m) tries this year.

• Cowboys bench forwards John Asiata and Ben Hannant are the only Cowboys in the named 17 who haven’t scored tries this year.

• Around 50,000 people are expected to attend Saturday’s blockbuster qualifying final.

• The Cowboys have completed 743 sets (first in NRL) to Brisbane’s 710 (third) in 2015.

• The Cowboys will be wary of the Corey Parker offload, with the Broncos veteran effecting 41 of the potential match-turning plays in 2015 (fifth best in the league).

• Cowboys co-captain Johnathan Thurston continues to dominate the line-break assists (26) ad try assists (28) counts in the NRL.

• NQ duo Gavin Cooper and Lachlan Coote are among the league leader in decoy runs (160) and support runs (369) respectively.  

MATCH UPS –Kyle Feldt and Corey Oates           

If they come head-to-head on Saturday, expect some acrobatics as these two hulking wingers have impressive skill sets and plenty of explosive energy.  At 191cm/103kg and 192cm/107kg respectively, Feldt and Oates are big men with big weapons at their disposal. Both are great under the high ball and are polished finishes. Should the game open up this pair will likely be among the try scorers. Oates has scored 12 tries from 22 appearances this year while Feldt has an impressive strike rate of five tries from six games played.

FINAL WORD

Paul Green:  “You want to embrace the occasion … derby game at Suncorp Stadium.”

Alex Glenn (Broncos backrower): “They (the Cowboys) come out very hard … they’ve got Australian front rowers.”
 

CASUALTY WARD

Cowboys: Tautau Moga (knee) - indefinite

Broncos: Josh McGuire (thumb)/James Gavet (knee)/Elijah Alick (knee) - season