Photo: Scott Davis © NRL Photos

Cowboys v Roosters PREVIEW

North Queensland Toyota Cowboys v Sydney Roosters
4pm, Sunday 14 August, Allianz Stadium

Referees: Jared Maxwell, Gavin Reynolds
Review officials: Bernard Sutton, Luke Patten, Jason Robinson
Touch judges: Rohan Best, Belinda Sleeman

Cowboys: 5th (12 wins, eight losses, two byes): 28 points
Roosters: 15th (four wins, 16 losses, two byes): 12 points


TEAMS

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 Ray Thompson, 10 James Tamou, 11 Gavin Cooper, 12 Ethan Lowe, 13 Jason Taumalolo. Interchange: 14 Rory Kostjasyn, 15 John Asiata, 16 Scott Bolton, 17 Patrick Kaufusi, 18 Coen Hess, 19 Javid Bowen. Coach: Paul Green.

Roosters: 1 Blake Ferguson, 2 Daniel Tupou, 3 Dale Copley, 4 Shaun Kenny-Dowall, 5 Latrell Mitchell, 6 Connor Watson, 7 Mitchell Pearce, 8 Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, 9 Jake Friend (c), 10 Dylan Napa, 11 Boyd Cordner, 12 Mitchell Aubusson, 13 Sio Siua Taukeiaho. Interchange: 14 Sam Moa, 15 Isaac Liu, 16 Ryan Matterson, 17 Kane Evans, 18 Aidan Guerra. Coach: Trent Robinson.


CASUALTY WARD

Cowboys: Ben Hannant (knee) – Round 26; Jake Granville (hand) – Round 26; Sam Hoare (knee/shoulder) – season; Patrick Mago (suspended) – season

Roosters: Ian Henderson (leg) – season


MATCH FACTS

  • History: Played 33; Roosters 23, Cowboys 10. These sides have split their previous six games dating back to 2012, with four of those games decided by 24 points or more.

  • The past two matches between these two teams have resulted in blowout scorelines. The Cowboys bested the Roosters 40-0 in Round 3 this year, while in Round 1 last year, the Roosters triumphed 28-4. Both games were played in Townsville.

  • In the past eight matches between the sides, the teams have split the results, with the Roosters winning three of the past five.

  • The Cowboys’ biggest win over the Roosters was that 40-0 result from earlier in the year. The Roosters downed the Cowboys 58-12 at Aussie Stadium in 2002.

  • Points for: Cowboys 484, Roosters 353

  • Points against: Cowboys 295, Roosters 499

  • Points scored: Cowboys 24 Roosters 18

  • Points conceded: Cowboys 15, Roosters 25

  • Tries: Cowboys 81, Roosters 62

  • Tries conceded: Cowboys 47, Roosters 85

  • Completions: Cowboys 77%, Roosters 73%
  • The Cowboys score four tries per match on average while the Roosters score three.

  • The Cowboys concede two tries per match and the Roosters four.
  • The Roosters have scored nine long-range tries (51-100m out) to the Cowboys’ two this season.

  • The Cowboys score the bulk of their tries from close-range (0-20m) with 58 of their 81 tries this season scored in that manner.

  • Defensively, the Cowboys lead the greatest number of tries from close range: 47 from a total of 83 in season 2016.

  • North Queensland halfback and co-captain Johnathan Thurston requires four goals to reach the milestone of 800 goals in the top grade (all for the Cowboys). Thurston is vying to become only the ninth player to break through the 800 goals barrier.

KEY MATCH-UP – THURSTON v PEARCE

Both halfbacks are integral to moving their respective teams around the park and to putting them in good attacking positions.

When in the areas they want to be, these fine playmakers let their instincts and skill sets take over.

Thurston returned from a short injury layoff against the Tigers last start and will be better for the run when he leads his team out against the Roosters.

Pearce returns from injury and will make an immediate difference to the fluency and potency of his team’s attack.

It won’t be so much the individual games of this pair that will have a major bearing on the result, but rather what the rest of the respective teams can do to disrupt these two fine footballers.


FINAL WORD

Cowboys coach Paul Green: “We were disappointed in our performance (against the Tigers) … so we were looking for a good reaction to that and the first place you see that is in training and the boys have had a good week.”

Roosters assistant coach Steve McNamara: “Their 6, 7, 9 and 1 have a really steady combination for a longer period of time. They’re a really good team, they’re the reigning premiers, and are the team that everyone wants to beat this year.”