The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys under-20s will be looking for more trademark consistency as they back up from last weekend’s impressive National Youth Competition season-opener when they take on the baby Brisbane Broncos at Suncorp Stadium this evening.
NYC assistant coach Ben Jeffries said the team’s polished 28-12 win over the Raiders in Townsville was a pleasing start to a new campaign featuring a squad with a lot of younger players, three of whom made their NYC debut in Round 1.
“Most of that game they executed what we were chasing and defensively we were strong in only letting in two tries, so there’s a couple of things to work on this round, but it was a pleasing first-up performance,” Jeffries said.
“We do have a lot of younger guys in the squad this year, so those more experienced players, who have been here a couple of seasons … we’ll be looking to them to lead from the front.”
The team to play the Broncos today remains unchanged, with utility forward Duarne Dempsey keeping his spot after being a late call-up into the team for the injured Reuben Cotter.
Sam Murphy, Logan Bayliss-Brown and Jack Glossop drop out of the 23-man squad, which gets culled by a further three prior to kick-off today.
Lock Corey Horsburgh, one of last weekend’s best, will be looking for another strong performance, the copper-haired No.13 having a whale of a game in scoring two tries, running 210m and making 30 tackles.
“Big Red was outstanding last week and you can’t fault his effort … he and (hooker) Calum Gahan were standouts last week and the other boys around them played well,” Jeffries said.
Also impressive in his NYC debut was halfback Jake Clifford, who combined nicely with captain and experienced campaigner Mitch Dunn at five-eighth.
Known for his cool head, Clifford steered the team neatly around the park and produced 274 kicking metres in a polished display, Jeffries adding that he and Dunn were “really important for us this year”.
Today's game kicks off at 4.50pm – follow our live updates on Twitter @nthqldcowboys.