NYC preview: Cowboys v Sharks
CRONULLA SHARKS NYC v NORTH QUEENSLAND TOYOTA COWBOYS NYC
4.45pm, Monday 13 June, Southern Cross Group Stadium
Referee: Tom Roby
Touch judges: Kasey Badger, Daniel Olford
Cowboys: 1 Michael Carroll, 2 Gideon Gela-Mosby, 3 Bacho Salam, 4 Nathan Traill, 5 Marcus Jensen, 6 Ty Carucci, 7 Cooper Bambling (c), 8 Darryn Schonig, 9 Brandon Smith, 10 Ross Bella, 11 Emry Pere, 12 Hiale Roycroft, 13 Tahanui Tutavake. Interchange: 14 Trey Kemp, 16 Corey Horsburgh, 17 Nick Lui Toso, 18 Kaleb Fuimaono.
Sharks: 1 Will Kennedy, 2 Semisi Vea, 3 Bessie Aufaga-Toomaga, 4 Lachlan Stein, 5 Josh Tuilagi, 6 Jack Williams, 7 Rhys Davies, 8 Tepa Fuiavailili, 9 Jayden Brailey (c), 10 Jaimin Jolliffe, 11 Tony Matautia, 12 Ash Nisbet, 13 Jayden McDonogh. Interchange: 14 Daniel Vasquez, 15 Eddie Faalua, 16 Jesse Savage, 17 Billy Magoulias.
- The young Cowboys have not been defeated since their Round 7 loss to the Rabbitohs, having won five games and drawn one.
- In that run of great results, the Cowboys have averaged 44 points per game, their recent hot form propelling them to outright second place on the National Youth Competition ladder on 19 points, three adrift of defending champions Penrith.
- The sixth-placed Sharks have won seven matches and lost four and will be fresh after coming off a bye last round.
- The Sharks – whose first grade team tops the NRL ladder – are running first in the club championship on 38 points, one ahead of the Cowboys. The club championship combines NRL and NYC competition points, with the Cowboys winning the honour in 2016.
- The depth of Aaron Payne’s squad will again be sorely tested with the NYC Cowboys suffering more injury pain in last weekend’s 66-16 demolition of the Knights. Hardworking lock Jordan Kenworthy appears out for the season after suffering a serious knee injury.
- Kenworthy joins fellow team regular Kalyn Ponga on the sidelines after Ponga hurt his shoulder against the Dragons two weeks ago.
- Prior to his injury, Kenworthy ranked outright second in the comp for hit-ups/runs with 189.
- Regular skipper Coen Hess is out of the team this week after being promoted to Intrust Super Cup duties with the Northern Pride, who host the Sunshine Coast Falcons on Sunday.
- After scoring a hat-trick last weekend against the Knights, in-form Cowboys winger Marcus Jensen sits equal-first on the NYC try-scoring tally with 14 four-pointers.
- Cowboys hooker Brandon Smith is the competition’s top dummy-half runner with 72 scoots.
- Originally named on an extended bench, Cody Maughan will not play this weekend after being served a three-week suspension for a dangerous tackle while playing for the Charters Towers Miners in the Townsville and Districts Rugby League. Kaleb Fuimaono comes into the 17.
COACH AARON PAYNE: “The real challenge will be to back up a big win last weekend with another strong performance against a team playing well.”