Photo: Mark Nolan © NRL Photos

Cowboys v Tigers PREVIEW

WESTS TIGERS v NORTH QUEENSLAND TOYOTA COWBOYS
4pm, Sunday 7 August, Leichhardt Oval

Referees: Gerard Sutton, Alan Shortall
Review officials: Bernard Sutton, Matt Cecchin, Luke Patten
Touch judges: Jeff Younis, Rickey MacFarlane
Broadcast: Live – Channel 9, 4TOFM Call Team

Cowboys: 4th (12 wins, seven losses, two byes): 28 points
Tigers: 10th (nine wins, 10 losses, two byes): 22 points


TEAMS

Cowboys: 1 Lachlan Coote, 2 Javid Bowen, 3 Justin O’Neill, 4 Kane Linnett, 5 Antonio Winterstein, 6 Michael Morgan, 7 Ray Thompson, 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.

Tigers: 1 James Tedesco, 2 David Nofoaluma, 3 Tim Simona, 4 Kevin Naiqama, 5 Jordan Rankin, 6 Mitchell Moses, 7 Jack Littlejohn, 8 Aaron Woods (c), 9 Dene Halatua, 10 Sauaso Sue, 11 Josh Oloiai, 12 Chris Lawrence, 13 Elijah Taylor. Interchange: 14 Kyle Lovett, 15 Ava Seumanufagai, 16 Tim Grant, 17 Joal Edwards. Coach: Jason Taylor.


CASUALTY WARD

Cowboys: Johnathan Thurston (hamstring) –– Round 22; Sam Hoare (knee/shoulder) – season; Braden Uele (ankle) – Round 23; Kyle Feldt (suspended) – Round 23; Patrick Mago (suspended) – season.

Tigers: Luke Brooks (knee) – Round 24-26; Nathan Milone/Matt Ballin (knee) – season.


MATCH FACTS

  • History: Played 31; Wests Tigers 16, Cowboys 15. As expected, North Queensland has won three of the past four matches since 2013, with the latest encounter as dour as they come. Recent games between these two have been either rocks or diamonds from a fan’s point of view.

  • The teams have split their past eight matches. The Cowboys have won the past two matches between the sides, including last year’s famous 8-0 win at Campbelltown without their State of Origin contingent.

  • The Cowboys’ biggest win over the Tigers was 64-6 result in 2014, while the Tigers have twice beaten the Cowboys by 44 points – a 50-6 win in the 2005 finals series and a 54-10 result at Leichhardt Oval in 2007.

  • 2016 stats:
    - Points for: Cowboys 470, Tigers 399
    - Points against: Cowboys 269, Tigers 458
    - Tries: Cowboys 77, Tigers 71
    - Tries conceded: Cowboys 43, Tigers 79
    - Completions: Cowboys 78%, Tigers 78%

  • Both teams score four tries per match on average – the Cowboys concede two tries per match and the Tigers four, while the home side has scored 12 long-range tries (51-100m out) to the Cowboys’ two this season.

KEY MATCH-UP – COOTE v TEDESCO

When Tedesco is on song his play matches that of a certain New South Wales fullback who has recently returned to the game.

The debate between Tedesco and Hayne around NSW's No.1 jersey in 2017 will start this week and rage until the next State of Origin series comes around in nine months, so there is no better way to get a leg up than a big performance against the premiers.

Tedesco will be on his toes throughout this one, while Coote has the potential to trouble the home side with linking runs in red-zone raids.

The Tigers are susceptible on either edge and the ever-consistent Coote should make them pay.


FINAL WORD

Cowboys head coach Paul Green: “We don’t get too many day games so it will be a good experience for us.”

Tigers vice-captain Chris Lawrence: “They're the reigning premiers and in good form — obviously they lost last week but they still played really well — so it's a massive test to see where we're at.”