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North Queensland Cowboys
North Queensland Cowboys
Round 18 continues this afternoon when the North Queensland Cowboys host the Sydney Roosters at Queensland Country Bank Stadium. Join The Roar for live scores and commentary from 3pm (AEST).
State of Origin is over for another year, and we begin our run downhill into the finals. Whilst the Roosters are comfortably inside the top eight, it’s getting close to do or die for the Cowboys, with a loss here effectively ending their season.
The Cowboys would have been buoyed by their 12-2 lead early in the game against the Rabbitohs last weekend. They would have been much less keen on the 46-18 scoreline against them at full time. Despite being without five Origin players, Souths still had way too much class.
Todd Payten has issues at both ends of the field. The edge defence opened up against the Rabbits, with both wingers scoring hat-tricks. They are also causing few problems for opposition defences, struggling to construct a good attacking set.
Valentine Holmes is officially out of the team after injuring his shoulder in Origin, with Javid Bowen moving to fullback. Francis Molo and Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow are likely to back up from Origin duties, while Peter Hola comes in for the suspended Heilum Luki.
The Roosters never reached any great heights in their win against the Bulldogs last weekend. Questions are being asked as to whether the large number of mid-season retirements and long-term injuries have left the Roosters just making up the numbers this year.
Victor Radley was a welcome inclusion last weekend and played a lot of first receiver to help their young halves combination. He was close to best on ground, but couldn’t get close to acting skipper Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, who was just brilliant for the Roosters.
James Tedesco has been ruled out after playing Origin 3 on Wednesday, meaning Joseph Manu will again fill in at fullback. Angus Crichton comes back in with Isaac Liu moving to the front row. Siosiua Taukeiaho is out with a hamstring issue.
The Roosters have been playing below their best, but I favour them to get the win this afternoon.
Victor Radley will be better for last week’s run and the Roosters are simply a better team than the Cowboys, even without Tedesco.
The loss of Valentine Holmes will hurt Todd Payten’s team, and I just don’t think they have enough points in them to get the win.
Sydney Roosters by 12.
Kick-off: 3pm (AEST)
Venue: Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Townsville
TV: Fox League
Live stream: Kayo Sports, Foxtel Now, Foxtel GO, NRL Live Pass
Odds: Cowboys $3.25, Roosters $1.35 (odds via PlayUp)
19. Javid Bowen, 2. Kyle Feldt, 3. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow, 4. Connelly Lemuelu, 5. Murray Taulagi, 6. Scott Drinkwater, 7. Tom Dearden, 8. Francis Molo, 9. Reece Robson, 10. Jordan McLean, 11. Shane Wright, 12. Mitchell Dunn, 13. Jason Taumalolo (c)
Bench/Reserves: 14. Jake Granville, 15. Tom Gilbert, 16. Coen Hess, 17. Peter Hola | 18. Lachlan Burr, 20. Ben Condon, 21. Daejarn Asi
4. Joseph Manu, 2. Daniel Tupou, 3. Josh Morris, 19. Billy Smith, 5. Matt Ikuvalu, 6. Drew Hutchison, 7. Sam Walker, 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (c), 9. Sam Verrills, 10. Isaac Liu, 11. Angus Crichton, 12. Sitili Tupouniua, 13. Victor Radley
Bench/Reserves: 14. Lachlan Lam, 15. Nat Butcher, 16. Egan Butcher, 17. Fletcher Baker