Its sudden death finals footy this afternoon as the in-form North Queensland Cowboys travel to Sydney to take on the Cronulla Sharks. Join us for live scores and updates from 4.00pm AEST.
In a roller-coaster NRL season, no two sides have experienced the dizzying highs and depressing lows as much as the Sharks and the Cowboys.
For Cronulla the ongoing ASADA investigations have cast a dark shadow over an otherwise impressive season, whilst for North QLD their poor form for much of the season will see coach Neil Henry leave the club at season’s end, even if he can do the miracle and secure the club’s first premiership.
All this controversy will mean little when the teams take to the field at Allianz Stadium today however, as two clubs with far loftier ambitions than a week one exit are sure to leave nothing in the tank.
When these two sides met at Remondis stadium recently it was the visiting Cowboys who got the chocolates, mostly on the back of their ‘old firm’ of Johnathan Thurston and Matt Bowen.
These two will again be crucial to the Cowboys chances, as their speed will be crucial to navigating around Cronulla’s fearsome forward pack.
Also look for the North Queenslanders to send plenty of ball to their men out wide, an area where they have a noticeable advantage (on paper anyway) over the Sharks.
For Cronulla their all-star backrow of Gallen, Graham and Lewis will be a continual headache for the Cowboys, and their ability to offload in traffic can be almost unstoppable when they are on song.
Super sub Isaac De Gois is also likely to be a handful for the Cowboys, and is capable of lifting the tempo of his team with his darts out of dummy half.
Combine this with an on target Todd Carney kicking game and the Sharks have a team to rattle anyone in the comp.
This should be one hell of a match, and I’m going to go against the grain and tip North Queensland to make it seven on the trot in an upset.
Cowboys by four.