Cowboys v Broncos preview
BRISBANE BRONCOS v NORTH QUEENSLAND TOYOTA COWBOYS
7.05pm, Friday 25 March, Suncorp Stadium
Referees: Gerard Sutton, Matt Noyen
Review officials: Luke Patten, Steve Chiddy
Touch judges: Michael Wise, Jeff Younis
Cowboys: 4th after round 3 – two wins, one loss: 4 points
Broncos: 5th after round 3 – two wins, one loss: 4 points
Cowboys: 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. Coach: Paul Green.
Broncos: 1 Darius Boyd, 2 Greg Eden, 3 Jordan Kahu, 4 James Roberts, 5 Lachlan Maranta, 6 Anthony Milford, 7 Ben Hunt, 8 Josh McGuire, 9 Andrew McCullough, 10 Adam Blair, 11 Alex Glenn, 12 Matt Gillett, 13 Corey Parker (c) Interchange: 14 Jarrod Wallace, 15 Sam Thaiday, 16 Joe Ofahengaue, 17 Kodi Nikorima. Coach: Wayne Bennett.
Cowboys: Tautau Moga (knee); Ray Thompson (ankle); Sam Hoare (knee)
Broncos: Corey Oates (shoulder); Jack Reed (eye)
- This will be the first meeting between the teams since the epic 2015 grand final, won 17-16 by the Cowboys in dramatic fashion.
- The teams played each other four times last year, and split the results.
- Both sides have each won four of the past eight matches between them.
- The last Broncos' victory over the Cowboys was the 16-12 win in week one of the 2015 finals series. During the regular season, the Broncos beat the Cowboys 44-22 in round 3, while the Cowboys won 31-20 several weeks later (round 10).
- The Cowboys’ biggest win over the Broncos was a 36-4 triumph in 2006, while the Broncos defeated North Queensland 58-4 in 1998.
- The Cowboys have scored 13 tries to the Broncos’ 11 so far in season 2016. All but one of the Cowboys’ tries have come from short range, or 0-20m out from the tryline. The Broncos have scored six short-range tries, four medium-range (21-50m out) and one long-range (51-100m out).
- Defence-wise, all five of the Cowboys’ conceded tries have come from short range. The Broncos have let in six tries in 2016 – five short-range and one medium-range.
- The Broncos have made nine offloads to the Cowboys’ four across three games played.
- The Cowboys have made 177 hit-ups/runs to the Broncos’ 176.
- Both teams have made 320 tackles across the opening three rounds.
MATCH UPS – Take your pick!
With the Cowboys fielding the same team that defeated the Broncos in the 2015 grand final and the Broncos fielding 13 of their 17, there are mouth-watering head-to-heads across the park.
With Jack Reed injured and Justin Hodges retired, Broncos centres James Roberts and Jordan Kahu will be up against the experienced Cowboys pairing of Kane Linnett and Justin O’Neill.
The five-eighths see the class and power of Michael Morgan against the wizardry and unpredictability of Anthony Milford, while opposing halfbacks Johnathan Thurston and Ben Hunt will look to control play from the outset.
Adam Blair v James Tamou up front also has the potential for grand final rematch fireworks.
Paul Green: “They’re one of the best teams in the comp so the match is a good measuring stick.”
Matt Gillett (Broncos forward): “We have come off a loss and they are coming off a win with some confidence. We have got to get back to what we do well.”