CANTERBURY BULLDOGS NYC v NORTH QUEENSLAND TOYOTA COWBOYS NYC
5.35pm, Thursday 25 August, Belmore Sports Ground
Referee: Ryan Jackson
Touch judges: James Vella, Keiron Irons
Thursday’s Round 25 clash pits team No.2 the Cowboys (14 wins, seven losses, one draw for 33 points) versus team No.13 in the Bulldogs (8 wins, 13 losses, 1 draw for 21 points).
Both teams were last-start winners – the Cowboys put in a much-improved showing to halt a two-game losing run with a 34-0 shutout of the Warriors, while the Bulldogs were courageous in holding out the Broncos 30-28.
The Cowboys will take much the same side from that Warriors match to Belmore on Thursday.
Payne has named an extended bench, though, with a few players contending with niggling injuries.
Young Cowboys winger Marcus Jensen has had a stellar past several days.
After posting a hat-trick of tries in last round rout of the Warriors, the 20-year-old flyer was announced earlier this week as having inked a two-year deal to be part of the Cowboys’ NRL squad from the 2017 season.
Kingaroy product Jensen joined former NYC Cowboys forward Corey Jensen (no relation) and Josh Chudleigh as new signings for next year.
Cowboys: 1 Kalyn Ponga, 2 Gideon Gela-Mosby, 3 Bacho Salam, 4 Enari Tuala, 5 Marcus Jensen, 6 Ty Carucci, 7 Cooper Bambling (c), 8 Darryn Schonig, 9 Brandon Smith, 10 Ross Bella, 11 Cody Maughan, 12 Hiale Roycroft, 13 Tahanui Tutavake. Interchange: 14 Nathan Traill, 15 Corey Horsburgh, 16 Kaleb Fuimaono, 17 Nick Lui Toso, 18 Nick Brown, 19 Michael Carroll. Coach: Aaron Payne.
Bulldogs: 1 Josh Bergiman, 2 Bailey Simonsson, 3 Kiko Manu, 4 Jerry Leasi, 5 Jason Fanau, 6 Adam Keighran, 7 Will Kerr, 8 Peter Tiatia, 9 Joseph Tramontana, 10 Jayden Okunbor, 11 D’Rhys Miller, 12 Luis Strickland, 13 Hayden Ashcroft. Interchange: 14 Siaopo Tagaloa, 15 Kayne Kalache, 16 Peni Misinale, 17 Lopeti Mafi, 19 James Clark. Coach: Ben Anderson.
COACH AARON PAYNE: “We need some consistent, high-level footy heading into the finals.”