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The sigh of relief could be heard from Brisbane all the way to Townsville as the Cowboys defended their way to a morale-boosting win over the Roosters in Magic Round.

After coming within one game of a grand final in 2022, the Cowboys headed to Suncorp Stadium on Sunday with a 3-6 record and still stinging from a 44-6 loss to the Sharks 10 days earlier.

To their credit they dug deep to restrict the Roosters to just one try and also rediscovered some of their attacking flair with Murray Taulagi, Val Holmes and Scott Drinkwater all featuring prominently. 

Just before the Cowboys pocketed the much-needed two competition points the Dragons found another way to surrender two points of their own, going down 18-16 to Wests Tigers in a game they had ample opportunity to put to bed long before Mikaele Ravalawa's desperate lunge for the corner in the closing seconds.

After Jayden Sullivan's second try gave them the lead in the 53rd minute the Dragons surrendered the advantage in the 65th minute and were unable to get past a determined Tigers outfit who came up with some huge defensive plays in a frantic finish.

The Dragons' seventh loss of the season leaves them languishing in 16th position and although the Cowboys sit just two spots above them in 14th it's Todd Payten's men who have the confidence and belief the Red V are craving.

Team News

Cowboys: The Cowboys are 1-17 with no late changes. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown was hit with a high tackle charge for his shot on Jared Waerea-Hargreaves at Magic Round but is free to play after receiving a fine. Brendan Elliott is 18th Man.

Dragons: Captain Ben Hunt moves to hooker for his 300th NRL game with Jayden Sullivan to start in the halves alongside Talatau Amone. Moses Mbye drops back to the bench alongside Toby Couchman. Billy Burns is out of the final as 18th Man with Jack Bird moving into the back row and Michael Molo set to start at lock. Moses Mbye is on the bench.

Team Lists


  • Fullback for Cowboys is number 1 Scott Drinkwater
    Fullback for Dragons is number 1 Tyrell Sloan
  • Winger for Cowboys is number 2 Kyle Feldt
    Winger for Dragons is number 2 Mathew Feagai
  • Centre for Cowboys is number 3 Valentine Holmes
    Centre for Dragons is number 3 Mosese Suli
  • Centre for Cowboys is number 4 Peta Hiku
    Centre for Dragons is number 4 Max Feagai
  • Winger for Cowboys is number 5 Murray Taulagi
    Winger for Dragons is number 5 Mikaele Ravalawa
  • Five-Eighth for Cowboys is number 6 Tom Dearden
    Five-Eighth for Dragons is number 6 Talatau Amone
  • Halfback for Cowboys is number 7 Chad Townsend
    Halfback for Dragons is number 14 Jayden Sullivan


  • Prop for Cowboys is number 8 Jordan McLean
    Prop for Dragons is number 8 Jack De Belin
  • Hooker for Cowboys is number 9 Reece Robson
    Hooker for Dragons is number 7 Ben Hunt
  • Prop for Cowboys is number 10 Coen Hess
    Prop for Dragons is number 10 Blake Lawrie
  • 2nd Row for Cowboys is number 11 Heilum Luki
    2nd Row for Dragons is number 12 Jaydn Su'a
  • 2nd Row for Cowboys is number 12 Jack Gosiewski
    2nd Row for Dragons is number 13 Jack Bird
  • Lock for Cowboys is number 13 Reuben Cotter
    Lock for Dragons is number 15 Michael Molo


  • Interchange for Cowboys is number 14 Jake Granville
    Interchange for Dragons is number 9 Moses Mbye
  • Interchange for Cowboys is number 15 Mitchell Dunn
    Interchange for Dragons is number 16 Ben Murdoch-Masila
  • Interchange for Cowboys is number 16 Jamayne Taunoa-Brown
    Interchange for Dragons is number 17 Josh Kerr
  • Interchange for Cowboys is number 17 Kulikefu Finefeuiaki
    Interchange for Dragons is number 18 Toby Couchman


  • Replacement for Cowboys is number 21 Brendan Elliot
    Replacement for Dragons is number 11 Billy Burns

Match Officials

  • Referee: Chris Butler
  • Touch Judge: Belinda Sharpe
  • Touch Judge: Wyatt Raymond
  • Senior Review Official: Matt Noyen

Last updated:

Stat Attack

  • Cowboys hooker Reece Robson is churning out 44 tackles per game, his total of 443 second only to Bulldog Reed Mahoney (451).
  • The Cowboys have won their past three games against the Dragons by a combined scoreline of 103-46.
  • Dragons skipper Ben Hunt will become the 47th player to appear in 300 NRL games when the Red V take on the Cowboys on Saturday.
  • The Dragons have lost five consecutive games by a total of 13 points. 
  • Kyle Feldt has scored seven tries in nine games against the Dragons.
  • The Cowboys are aiming for back-to-back wins for the first time in 2023.

Stats supplied by David Middleton, League Information Services, author of the official annual of the NRL.


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Acknowledgement of Country

North Queensland Cowboys respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.