The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys will take their entire 2015 National Rugby League Premiership winning team into Round 1 when they host the Cronulla Sharks in the season-opener at 1300SMILES Stadium on Saturday.
Led by co-captains Johnathan Thurston and Matt Scott, the Cowboys will be looking to get their premiership defence off to a flyer with a strong showing against the Sharks, whom they defeated in week 2 of the 2015 finals series.
Five-eighth Michael Morgan will rejoin his skipper and halfback Thurston in the halves while Scott’s front row partner James Tamou will resume leader-of-the-pack duties after a strong showing against Leeds in the team’s World Club Challenge triumph in England last week.
Head coach Paul Green said he was pleased to be able to name the same title-winning team.
“We’ve had a good pre-season but they’re always tough,” Green said.
“(Being able to select the same team) is good but it allows you to continue to improve. That’s been a focus of ours as a team.”
North Queensland Toyota Cowboys v Cronulla Sharks
Round 1, 2016 NRL Telstra Premiership
6.30pm (Qld), Saturday 5 March, 1300SMILES Stadium
1. Lachlan Coote
2. Kyle Feldt
3. Justin O’Neill
4. Kane Linnett
5. Antonio Winterstein
6. Michael Morgan
7. Johnathan Thurston (c)
8. Matthew Scott (c)
9. Jake Granville
10. James Tamou
11. Gavin Cooper
12. Ethan Lowe
13. Jason Taumalolo
14. Rory Kostjasyn
15. John Asiata
16. Scott Bolton
17. Ben Hannant
Coach: Paul Green