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|T. M. Martin||11|
The North Queensland Cowboys will have to flip a horrendous historical script when they attempt to turn around their stuttering season at home against the Melbourne Storm. Join The Roar for live scores and coverage from 7:55pm (AEDT).
It’s been an unbelievably rough start to the new season for North Queensland, who have had to deal with Jason Taumalolo on the sidelines for the last fortnight.
After being blown off the park by the Cronulla Sharks at home in Round 3, they put something of an insipid display together last week, falling to the Canberra Raiders, leaving the club just one win from their first four games.
With a reasonably talented roster across the board though, this is a team who should be playing finals footy at the end of the year, and they must start recording victories if that’s going to be a show of happening.
For Paul Green’s men, it’s all about getting the basics right. Holding onto the ball, completing sets, and having their forwards do a job in the middle.
The Storm are no easybeats of course, and are the only undefeated team in the competition after a month, having survived a monster scare from the Canterbury Bulldogs last Sunday.
They have a positive coming into this match in that their record against the Cowboys is outstanding, but also have a problem in that a five-day turnaround is not the ideal formula to win football matches.
Even if they can overcome a five-day turnaround and the travel to Townsville, they still need to do a much better job than the one they did last week, and missing Suliasi Vunivalu and the late withdrawal – Curtis Scott – out wide, will not help their cause moving forward.
Melbourne must win the grind to take the game, and while that task is made easier by not having to face Jason Taumalolo, the conditions and short turnaround will make life difficult, particularly in the second half.
The Cowboys simply need to control the ball and be in the contest with half an hour to go, and for that, Michael Morgan controlling his team like he did in Round 1, and being infinitely better than Camron Munster, will be of paramount importance.
The Cowboys are at home and there can be no question they are overdue for a victory. The Storm, on the other hand, are undefeated, on a five-day turnaround and have to travel to Townsville. Even having success there previously, an upset is brewing.
Cowboys by 4.
Be sure to join The Roar for live coverage of this Round 5 NRL match from 7:55pm (AEDT) and don’t forget to add a comment in the section below.
Kick-off: 7:55pm (AEDT)
Venue: 1300 Smiles Stadium, Townsville
TV: Live, Fox League 502
Online: Live, Foxtel app, Foxtel now, Kayo Sports, NRL live pass
Overall record: Played 38, Storm 28, Cowboys 10
Last meeting: Round 12, 2018 – Cowboys 6 defeated by Storm 7 at 1300 Smiles Stadium, Townsville
Last five: Storm 5, Cowboys 0
Record at venue: Played 20, Storm 14, Cowboys 6
Referees: Grant Atkins and Gavin Badger
North Queensland Cowboys
1. Te Maire Martin, 2. Nene Macdonald, 3. Jordan Kahu, 4. Enari Tuala, 5. Ben Hampton, 6. Jake Clifford, 7. Michael Morgan, 8. Matthew Scott, 9. Jake Granville, 10. Jordan McLean, 11. Gavin Cooper, 12. Coen Hess, 13. Josh McGuire
Interchange: 14. John Asiata, 15. Corey Jensen, 16. Mitchell Dunn, 17. Francis Molo, 18. Shane Wright, 19. Justin O’Neill, 20. Kurt Baptiste, 21. Peter Hola
1. Jahrome Hughes, 2. Marion Seve, 3. Will Chambers, 4. Curtis Scott, 5. Josh Addo-Carr, 6. Cameron Munster, 7. Brodie Croft, 8. Jesse Bromwich, 9. Cameron Smith, 10. Nelson Asofa-Solomona, 11. Felise Kaufusi, 12. Kenneath Bromwich, 13. Dale Finucane
Interchange: 14. Brandon Smith, 15. Christian Welch, 16. Tui Kamikamica, 17. Ryan Papenhuyzen, 18. Billy Walters, 19. Patrick Kaufusi, 20. Albert Vete, 21. Sandor Earl