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Round 10 of the NRL season continues this Saturday evening as the North Queensland Cowboys host the Parramatta Eels at 1300SMILES Stadium in Townsville. Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of the match, starting from 5:30pm AEST.
The North Queensland Cowboys have shown something of a return to form in recent weeks, defeating the Titans at home before coming late against Souths in Magic Round.
They never really looked like challenging the Rabbits but showed enough to suggest they will prove a handful for the Eels.
The return of Jason Taumalolo has obviously helped this improvement. Together with Matt Scott and Jordan McLean, the Cowboys do have a formidable pack.
Jake Granville has been named to start at hooker this week, pushing Kurt Baptiste to the bench. Paul Green did the same last weekend only to swap Granville and Baptiste around, so there are no guarantees they will start as named.
The Parramatta Eels are an enigma at the moment. Seemingly unbeatable at Bankwest Stadium, they can’t take a trick when playing away, losing the last 4 games.
While the Storm were excellent last weekend, the 64-10 drubbing was a real capitulation by the Eels and their fans will be wanting a much stronger showing this weekend.
The Eels themselves will be keen to prove that rumours of unrest due to player recruitment issues are just that, rumours.
Brad Arthurs has made plenty of changes in response to the Storm loss. George Jennings comes on to the wing for the suspended Maika Sivo, Josh Hoffman returns at centre with Will Smith named at 6 after Jaeman Salmon was dropped.
Manu Ma’u will start at lock, with Tepai Moeroa dropped to the bench. Reed Mahoney will start at hooker with Peni Terepo back to the bench as well.
The “bounceback” factor will play a role this evening, with the Eels sure to put in a much better effort than last week.
However, the North Queensland Cowboys have turned a corner and, at home, will do enough to win this match up.
North Queensland Cowboys by 4
When: 5:30pm AEDT
Where: 1300SMILES Stadium
TV: Fox League
Online: Livepass, Foxtel now
Betting: North Queensland Cowboys: $1.75; Parramatta Eels: $2.08.
North Queensland Cowboys
1. Jordan Kahu 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Justin O’Neill 4. Tom Opacic 5. Ben Hampton 6. John Asiata 7. Michael Morgan 8. Matt Scott 9. Jake Granville 10. Jordan McLean 11. Gavin Cooper 12. Coen Hess 13. Jason Taumalolo
Interchange: 14. Kurt Baptiste 15. Mitchell Dunn 16. Scott Bolton 17. Francis Molo
1. Clint Gutherson 2. George Jennings 3. Josh Hoffman 4. Brad Takairangi 5. Blake Ferguson 6. Will Smith 7. Mitchell Moses 8. Daniel Alvaro 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Junior Paulo 11. Shaun Lane 12. Marata Niukore 13. Manu Ma’u
Interchange: 14. Peni Terepo 15. Tim Mannah 16. Tepai Moeroa 17. Oregon Kaufusi