Nth Queensland Cowboys vs Canberra Raiders: NRL live scores, blog
Two teams at opposite ends of the NRL’s annual mid-table log jam do battle tonight when the North Queensland Cowboys take on the Canberra Raiders at Dairy Farmers Stadium. Join us for live scores and commentary from 5.30pm AEST.
It’s a sign of the times in the NRL that, despite the fact these sides are only four points apart on the competition table, the Cowboys will start this as heavy favourites.
North Queensland are favoured as NRL finals contenders while the Raiders are tipped by most to miss out on the top eight.
Indeed, the Cowboys have had the much better of this fixture in recent times, winning four of the last five clashes, and they’ll be helped by the warm Townsville climate, which will no doubt comes as a shock to a team like the Raiders who play their own home games in sub-10° conditions.
North Queensland will, however, be missing their inspirational co-captain and forward leader, Matthew Scott, whose mother sadly passed away on Thursday night.
His replacement is yet to be announced, but with Ashton Sims also on the sidelines, even more responsibility will fall on the shoulders of James Tamou to turn in a big performance, especially up against a front row featuring Origin-level players like David Shillington and Tom Learoyd-Lahrs.
Still, the Cowboys have two X-factors in the form of playmakers Johnathan Thurston and Matthew Bowen, and with hard-running back rowers and outside men that can easily sniff out a try — Ash Graham is the leading try scorer in the NRL — they’re always a chance of posting points when close to the line.
For the Raiders, we’ll watch closely the continuing development of Josh Dugan as a five eighth, the talented fullback having been thrust into that role due to the Raiders’ excessive injuries in the halves. He was hot and cold in his first two performances — probably more cold than hot — but his talent is undeniable and, if things click, the Raiders could surprise the Cowboys this evening.
Will the Cowboys hold strong at their home fortress and take an important step towards a top four finish, or will the Raiders spring a big upset and shore up their own finals credentials? Join us from 5.30pm for live score updates and debate on our live blog, and be sure to give us your opinion in the space below if you’re watching.