NZ Warriors vs. Nth QLD Cowboys, NRL live scores, blog
The New Zealand Warriors will be looking to keep in touch with the top 8 when they take on a North Queensland Cowboys outfit impacted heavily by Origin commitments. Join us for live scores and commentary from 2.00pm AEST.
As always, the Warriors are unaffected by Origin and will field an almost full-strength line-up boosted by the returns of Nathan Friend and Michael Luck. Manu Vatuvei is the only big name missing, and he’ll be replaced by Glen Fisiiahi on the wing.
North Queensland, meanwhile, will be without Johnathan Thurston, Matthew Scott, James Tamou and Brent Tate – though they will have welcomed the news that Matthew Bowen has not been called into the Queensland squad to replace Billy Slater and will take his place at fullback this afternoon.
In 2012, the Cowboys have shown that they don’t need Thurston to win matches; last week, Thurston very much took a back seat as Bowen, Ray Thompson and Aaron Payne orchestrated a strong victory over the Raiders.
However, the absence of their two starting props (Scott and Tamou) comes as a big loss up against a Warriors pack that’s known to get physical.
The Cowboys will no doubt look to use their big men on the edges, with the likes of Gavin Cooper, Glenn Hall and Jason Taumololo having a lot of success this year running strong lines in the attacking zone.
With that in mind though, it’s hard to go past the Warriors in this one. Playing at home, sitting two points out of the eight and facing weakened opponents, this is a must-win game for the New Zealanders, who have shown glimpses of brilliance in 2012 but have failed to put together a consistent run thus far.
Indeed, if they don’t come out firing and deliver a big win over the Cowboys here, it would be fair to begin questioning their premiership credentials as we head towards the business end of the season.
Can the Warriors dispose of the Cowboys and keep themselves in finals contention, or will North Queensland overcome the loss of key players to post a big upset? Join us from 2pm 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.
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