The North Queensland Cowboys will try to make it three wins in a row when they visit the Canberra Raiders this afternoon in the nation’s capital. Join us for live scores and updates from 2.00pm AEST
The Cowboys have the momentum but the Raiders have yet to lose a game this season at home, and will be difficult to handle for the Queenslanders.
Coming into NRL round 17, the Raiders are in 11th spot on the ladder, with two wins over the Cowboys in 13th.
In recent history both sides have had similar records, with both winning two from the last five matches, however the Cowboys have won their last two while the Raiders last victory was a distant three weeks ago.
The previous matchup between these two was in Round 7, and the Cowboys managed to score three tries in the first half, with the lone bright spot for the Raiders an Edrick Lee interception that turned into six points.
The second half featured more of the same – three more Cowboy tries followed by a late consolation try for the Raiders, with a final score of 30-12.
The Raiders have been hamstrung with problems with outside backs for this game – Origin player Blake Ferguson is currently suspended following a drunken incident two weeks ago, and both Sandor Earl and Edrick Lee are unavailable with arm issues.
The team will start Jack Wighton (with fingers crossed he’s match-fit) and Sami Sauiluma outside, despite picking up Bill Tupou this week.
The Cowboys have some of their own woes, with incumbent fullback Matt Bowen not fit to play (a poor sign for Bowen, who is running out of time to earn himself a contract extension for next year) and Ashton Sims on suspension for dangerous conduct last week.
Speaking of last week, the Cowboys faced up against a depleted Sharks side that did well to keep the score even at halftime.
The Cowboys were able to open up the game in the second half through some Thurston brilliance and romped home to a comfortable 24-4 win.
The Raiders had a very different story last week, going up against the table-topping Rabbitohs, and were actually able to put the first points on the board thanks to Croker’s boot.
So ended the Raiders’ entries on the score sheet, as the Rabbitohs then scored six unanswered tries to win a blowout 32-2.
Given the Raiders injury troubles, their superb home record will be under threat against the Cowboys outfit which feature dominate forwards in James Tamou and Matthew Scott (both averaging over 130 metres a game) and a statistical advantage in defence (have given up nearly four points less per game over the season).
Join us on The Roar from kickoff at 2.00pm AEST for live scores and commentary.