NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS V BRISBANE BRONCOS
Saturday 12 September, 5.15pm
Referee: Jon Stone
Touch judges: Belinda Sleeman and Anthony Eliott
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, 19. Trey Kemp.
BRONCOS: 1. Paul Byrnes, 2. Nikau Taukiri Terupe, 3. Jordan Drew, 4. Jarryd Dodd, 5. Daniel Russell, 6. Will Brimson, 7. Logan Spaander, 8. George Fai, 9. Jayden Berrell, 10. Keegan Hipgrave, 11. Lachlan Lanskey, 12. Alex Barr, 13. Jai Arrow. Interchange: 14. Kalolo Saitua, 15. Samuel Gee, 16. Keegan Palasia, 17. Sam Lavea.
The Cowboys’ last-start loss to the young Titans consigned NQ to second at the end of the regular, with their 19-win, four-loss, one-draw record equating to 43 points, one point adrift of the Panthers (20 wins, four losses).
Two of the Cowboys’ losses this year have been to the Broncos, who finished the season in third place with a 17-win, six-loss, one-draw record.
The young Broncos, though, will be without injured stars Jayden Nikorima and halfback Ashley Taylor, who suffered a compound fracture to his finger in his National Rugby League debut last week.
The Cowboys welcome back fullback Kalyn Ponga, five-eighth Kyle Laybutt, second-row Coen Hess and prop Viliame Kikau for this match after the quartet were rested for the Titans match.
The Cowboys are tipped to be well-represented when the NRL names their NYC team of the year on Monday.
NQ flyer Gideon Mosby is a very real chance of scoring 40 tries for the season. The Torres Strait Island native has crossed 34 times this year, and is the competition all-time single-season tryscorer with 34 and has at least two more games remaining for the year. He has made a competition-best 33 line breaks.
Bullocking Cowboys backrower Coen Hess averages 95 running metres a game in 2015, as well as 28 tackles, while his impressive Broncos rival Alex Barr has 124m and 29 tackles.
Cowboys halfback Cooper Bambling has both 26 try assists and line-break assists in 2015, putting him in the top five for the competition in both categories.
Despite missing a significant portion of the season with injury, tough Cowboys hooker Brandon Smith made the top six for dummy half runs, with 114.
Kikau has made 126 tackle breaks this season, the third most in the NYC.
COACH TODD PAYTEN: “This opportunity is what we’ve worked hard all season for. The boys know what’s at stake and we’ll come prepared and ready to play well.”