NORTH QUEENSLAND TOYOTA COWBOYS v SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS
7.50pm, Friday 15 April, 1300SMILES Stadium
Referees: Matt Cecchin, Alan Shortall
Review officials: Bernard Sutton, Bryan Norrie, Jason Robinson
Touch judges: Tim Roby, Michael Wise
Cowboys: 2nd (four wins, two losses): 8 points
Rabbitohs: 8th (three wins,three losses): 6 points
Cowboys: 1 Lachlan Coote, 2 Kyle Feldt, 3 Justin O’Neill, 4 Javid Bowen, 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. Patrick Kaufusi. Coach: Paul Green.
Rabbitohs: 1 Greg Inglis (c), 2 Bryson Goodwin, 3 Kirisome Auva’a, 4 Hymel Hunt, 5 Aaron Gray, 6 Luke Keary, 7 Adam Reynolds, 8 Tom Burgess, 9 Cameron McInnes, 10 David Tyrell, 11 Chris Grevsmuhl, 12 Kyle Turner, 13 Sam Burgess Interchange: 14 Paul Carter, 15 Jason Clark, 16 Nathan Brown, 17 George Burgess, 18 Damien Cook. Coach: Michael Maguire.
Cowboys: Ray Thompson (ankle); Sam Hoare (knee); Kane Linnett (shoulder)
Rabbitohs: John Sutton (pec); Zane Musgrove (wrist); Alex Johnson (calf)
- The Rabbitohs are completing at 80% for the year. The Cowboys are at 76% across the six games played so far in 2016.
- Cowboys co-captain Johnathan Thurston needs nine points for a personal tally of 1,000 points at 1300SMILES Stadium. Newcastle stalwart Andrew Johns scored 1,172 for the Knights at Hunter Stadium over a 14-year career.
- Thurston’s centre teammate Justin O’Neill will play his 100th NRL game tonight. O’Neill played 67 games for the Melbourne Storm over four seasons and has played 32 games for the Cowboys, including all six matches this year.
- The last meeting between the sides – at 1300SMILES Stadium – resulted in a powerful 31-18 win to the Rabbitohs.
- Prior to that match, the Cowboys had won the past four encounters between the sides and the teams have split results in the past eight matches.
- The Cowboys’ biggest win over the Bunnies was a 60-8 result in 2003 in Townsville. The Rabbitohs beat the Cowboys 32-4 at ANZ Stadium in 2010.
- Jason Taumalolo is the leading metre-eater in the two teams, averaging 164m per game, well ahead of Bunny Sam Burgess (139m). Taumalolo is overall fifth in the NRL in this catergory.
- Jase’s teammate Ethan Lowe makes an average of 35 tackles per game.
- Hooker Jake Granville is equal first in the comp with Wests Tigers half Luke Brooks for line break assists, with seven apiece.
MATCH UPS – The No.13s … TAUMALOLO v BURGESS
This fantastic battle between two of the NRL’s most powerful men will be worth the price of admission alone. Taumalolo and Burgess are two of the premier locks in the world and the strength of their running games will have a big say in field position and the room their respective halves will have to work. It should be a scintillating duel.
Cowboys coach Paul Green: “We’re expecting a very tough game. They were very good against us here last year.”
Dave Tyrell (Rabbitohs forward): “We’re ready to rip in.”