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The North Queensland Cowboys have a considerable home-ground advantage on their side in tonight’s meeting with thew Cronulla Sharks. Stay up to date with the match with live scores here on The Roar from 7:35pm (AEST).
Cronulla are yet to win a game this year, having let a lead slip against the Tigers last week. While there’s points in the side, there are serious issues around their edge defence which will need to be tightened up, else we can expect to see Valentine Holmes gliding through gaps out wide.
Making the Sharks’ task more difficult tonight is Chad Townsend’s absence. The halfback has been a remarkably durable – and impactful – contributor for the team, but his streak of 107 games in a row has come to an end due to a hamstring issue. With Townsend out, Matt Moylan will start in the halves alongside Shaun Johnson.
It’s not just Cronulla with a high-profile injury. The Cowboys are without the most devastating forward in the competition, Jason Taumalolo ruled out with bone bruising. With Michael Morgan also still out, it means North Queensland are missing their best two players.
It’s not just for that reason that all eyes will be on Holmes. The star back didn’t exactly win himself any friends with the way he handled his departure from Cronulla for a shot at the NFL, so expect to see him given a bit of a reception by his former teammates when he’s running the ball back tonight.
Kick-off: 7:35pm (AEST)
Venue: Queensland Country Bank Stadium
TV: Fox Sports
Online: Kayo Sports, Foxtel, NRL Live Pass
1. Valentine Holmes, 2. Kyle Feldt, 3. Justin O’Neill, 4. Esan Marsters, 5. Ben Hampton, 6. Scott Drinkwater, 7. Jake Clifford, 8. Francis Molo, 9. Jake Granville, 10. Jordan McLean (c), 11. Mitchell Dunn, 12. Coen Hess, 13. Josh McGuire
Bench/Reserves: 14. Reece Robson, 15. John Asiata, 16. Tom Gilbert, 17. Gavin Cooper, 18. Corey Jensen, 19. Shane Wright, 20. Tom Opacic, 21. Reuben Cotter
1. William Kennedy, 2. Sione Katoa, 3. Josh Dugan, 4. Jesse Ramien, 5. Ronaldo Mulitalo, 6. Matt Moylan, 7. Shaun Johnson, 8. Toby Rudolf, 9. Blayke Brailey, 10. Aaron Woods, 11. Briton Nikora, 12. Wade Graham (c), 13. Jack Williams
Bench/Reserves: 14. Connor Tracey, 15. Braden Hamlin-Uele, 16. Siosifa Talakai, 17. Scott Sorensen, 18. Billy Magoulias, 19. Braydon Trindall, 20. Royce Hunt, 21. Teig Wilton