Photo: Scott Davis © NRL Photos

Cowboys v Sharks PREVIEW

NORTH QUEENSLAND TOYOTA COWBOYS v CRONULLA SHARKS
7.55pm, Friday 23 September, Allianz Stadium

Referees: Ben Cummins, Gerard Sutton
Review officials: Bernard Sutton, Luke Patten, Ashley Klein
Touch judges: Brett Suttor, Chris Butler

Cowboys: Won Week 2 elimination final against Brisbane Broncos 26-20
Sharks: Won Week 1 qualifying final v Canberra Raiders 16-14, advanced to Week 3

 

TEAMS

Cowboys: 1 Lachlan Coote, 2 Kyle Feldt, 3 Justin O’Neill, 4 Kane Linnett, 5 Javid Bowen, 6 Michael Morgan, 7 Johnathan Thurston (c), 8 Matt Scott (c), 9 Jake Granville, 10 James Tamou, 11 Gavin Cooper, 12 Coen Hess, 13 Jason Taumalolo. Interchange: 14 Rory Kostjasyn, 15 John Asiata, 16 Scott Bolton, 17 Ben Hannant. Coach: Paul Green.

Sharks: 1 Ben Barba, 2 Sosaia Feki, 3 Jack Bird, 4 Ricky Leutele, 5 Valentine Holmes, 6 James Maloney, 7 Chad Townsend, 8 Andrew Fifita, 9 Michael Ennis, 10 Matt Prior, 11 Luke Lewis, 12 Wade Graham, 13 Paul Gallen Interchange: 14 Gerard Beale, 15 Chris Heighington, 16 Kurt Capewell, 17 Jason Bukuya, 18 Sam Tagataese. Coach: Shane Flanagan.

CASUALTY WARD

Cowboys: Sam Hoare (knee/shoulder) – season; Ethan Lowe (back) – season; Antonio Winterstein (rib cartilage) – Finals Week 4

Sharks: Nil

MATCH FACTS

  • History: Played 40 – Sharks 24, Cowboys 16. The result in the past eight matches between the sides has the teams at four wins apiece. The Sharks were last-start winners over the Cowboys with a 13-10 triumph in Round 14.

  • The Cowboys have a superior points scored record over the Sharks – 620 to 596.

  • The Cowboys have conceded 391 points in season 2016 to the Sharks’ 418.

  • The Cowboys are second in the comp for completed sets this season with 790, ahead of Cronulla’s 731 (eighth).

  • The Sharks’ biggest win over the Cowboys was in 2000 at Toyota Park, when they triumphed 42-6, while the Cowboys trounced Cronulla 56-14 at home in 2006.
  • The Sharks are 16 wins from 33 matches at Allianz Stadium, or 48%. They are five wins from 15 games in finals at Allianz. The Cowboys are one of five at Allianz in finals.
  • Both teams score an average of four tries a match in 2016.

  • The Cowboys have conceded two tries a match to the Sharks’ three.

  • Cowboys co-captain Johnathan Thurston remains the comp’s best goalkicker, piloting over 94 goals from 110 attempts at an 85% success rate.

  • Sharks flyer and Townsville product Valentine Holmes is running third in the race for NRL try-scoring honours. He has 19 four-pointers, behind the Storm’s Suliasi Vunivalu (23) and Canberra’s Jordan Rapana (22).

FINAL WORD

Cowboys coach Paul Green: “Playing there (Allianz Stadium) doesn’t worry me too much.”

Sharks coach Shane Flanagan: “He’s [Johnathan Thurston] a quality player and we need to be on our game. He was crook last week and with seven days, he would have put that weight back on so he’ll be ready to go tomorrow night and we’re expecting him to be at his best.”