NYC preview: Cowboys v Titans
NORTH QUEENSLAND TOYOTA COWBOYS NYC v GOLD COAST TITANS NYC
3.10pm, Saturday 3 September, 1300SMILES Stadium
Referee: Tyson Brough
Touch judges: Wyatt Raymond, Guilian Fichera
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 Nick Brown, 17 Nick Lui Toso, 18 Kaleb Fuimaono, 19 Michael Carroll. Coach: Aaron Payne.
Titans: 1 AJ Brimson, 2 David Pritchard, 3 Brian Kelly, 4 John Olive, 5 Phillip Sami, 6 Josh Rogers, 7 Josh Ralph, 8 Kurt Bernard, 9 Jordan Scott, 10 Nathan Watts, 11 Simione Fatafehi, 12 Sam Swift, 13 Max King. Interchange: 14 Ethan Roberts, 15 Apiata Noema, 16 Morgan Boyle, 17 Shaun Hinton. Coach: Ben Woolf.
- The Cowboys under-20s will in all likelihood finish the National Youth Competition regular season in second place, with the team currently on 35 competition points, two points clear of the Dragons.
- The Dragons would need to win their match against the Knights and rely on a Cowboys’ loss to have any chance of sneaking into the top two.
- NYC coach Aaron Payne will be keen to avoid having to rely on points differential to determine final ladder position.
- If the status quo is maintained, the Cowboys will play the young Dragons outfit in Week 1 of the finals. Penrith have already sown up the NYC minor premiership and are on 40 competition points.
- Payne has named an extended squad due two players with minor injury concerns – winger Gideon Gela-Mosby is racing the clock to recover from a groin injury, as is hooker Brandon Smith (ankle).
- Recently signed to a two-year NRL deal with the Cowboys, towering winger Marcus Jensen is currently leading the 2016 NYC try-scorers’ list. The Kingaroy product has 22 tries this season, one clear of the Dragons’ Matthew Duffy. Jensen has crossed four times in his past two matches, including posting a hat-trick in his team’s Round 24 win over the Warriors in Townsville.
- Rugged Cowboys hooker Brandon Smith continues to lead the way for dummy-half running, the young Kiwi having made 134 forays from this position.
- Smith and Jensen are tied for second for line breaks in the comp, with 22 apiece, two behind Brisbane’s David Fauid.
COACH AARON PAYNE: “We want to be playing with confidence, skill and commitment to be in the best form possible with finals around the corner.”