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North Queensland Cowboys vs Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks: Lineups, Preview and Prediction

1300SMILES Stadium, Saturday 19th August, 7:30pm, AEST.


Overview

Like a lot of games at this point of the season, this match will have an air of desperation surrounding it. It wasn’t too long ago that the Cowboys were eyeing a top four finish but they now sit precariously in eighth. A loss here, coupled with a Dragons victory over the Broncos, will see them fall out of the top eight. A win would effectively seal a finals spot and move them onto 30 points alongside their opponents.

Unlike the Cowboys, Cronulla still have top four aspirations. Their current status as the reigning Premiers adds extra pressure as they aim for consecutive titles, a feat which has not been achieved since the early 1990’s by the Brisbane Broncos. No team has won the Premiership after finishing the regular season outside of the top four since 1995 so this game has plenty of meaning for the visitors too.   

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Recent Meetings

2017 – Rd 11 Cronulla 18 def. North Queensland 14 at Southern Cross Group Stadium

2016 – Preliminary Final Cronulla 32 def. North Queensland 20 at Suncorp Stadium

2016 – Rd 14 Cronulla 13 def. North Queensland 10 at Southern Cross Group Stadium

2016 – Rd 1 North Queensland 20 def. Cronulla 14 at 1300SMILES Stadium

2015 – Semi final North Queensland 39 def. Cronulla 0 at 1300SMILES Stadium

Selected Teams

NORTH QUEENSLAND
 
 
CRONULLA
Lachlan Coote11Valentine Holmes
Kyle Feldt22Sosaia Feki
Javid Bowen33Kurt Capewell
Kane Linnett44Ricky Leutele
Kalyn Ponga55Gerard Beale
Te Maire Martin66James Maloney
Michael Morgan77Chad Townsend
John Asiata88Andrew Fifita
Jake Granville99Fa’amanu Brown
Scott Bolton1010Matt Prior
Coen Hess1111Luke Lewis
Ethan Lowe1212Wade Graham
Jason Taumalolo1313Paul Gallen
 
INTERCHANGE
 
Ben Hampton1414Jayson Bukuya
Patrick Mago1515Sam Tagataese
Corey Jensen1616Jeremy Latimore
Sam Hoare1717James Segeyaro
 
RESERVES
 
Braden Uele18
 
Chris Heighington
Kyle Laybutt19
 
Joseph Paulo
Enari Tuala20
 
Jayden Brailey
Shane Wright21
 
Jesse Ramien

The Facts That Matter

North Queensland Cowboys

It is well-documented how courageously the Cowboys have performed this year, particularly given the absence of inspirational co-captains Johnathan Thurston and Matt Scott. They were particularly courageous in defence last week, as their 15 fit men fell to a late defeat against the Panthers. However, the Cowboys have only managed one victory against the main Premiership contenders. 

That victory came in round two courtesy of a golden point field goal from Thurston.  They have led against the likes of Melbourne and the Roosters alongside today’s opponent but, so far, haven’t been able to see out the win. North Queensland can compete with the best and an improvement in game management could see them pick up a crucial win.

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Their home record hasn’t been as strong as last year, only winning six from 10 games while they have struggled to compete with the pacesetters in try-scoring. 2016 saw the Cowboys ranked second in points scored across the regular season, yet another fact that underlines the importance of Thurston. On the flip side, the Cowboys do not concede many penalties, have a relatively low error rate, and have conceded a comparatively low number of tries. 

Cronulla Sharks

Many have already written off the Sharks’ chances of retaining their Premiership title, particularly after being thrashed by the Broncos last week. However, they did go into last year’s finals series with inconsistent form and we all know how that turned out. The Sharks’ away record in 2017 also provides confidence, having won eight of their 10 games on the road. 

However, of their last five visits to Townsville, they have emerged victorious only once. That win two years ago came when Thurston was absent too, something which could be a key factor. Their vastly superior offload game could prove pivotal while their strong defensive record also stands them in good stead.

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The Sharks may, however, have to cut out their errors out and reduce their penalty count, while their attack has struggled to hit the heights of last season. This statistic is something that needs improving as the other Premiership contenders are currently strong at both ends.

Prediction

The Cowboys will throw the kitchen sink at the Sharks but the reigning Premiers should be able to absorb the pressure to reclaim a top four spot with victory. Sharks by 2.

Who do you think comes out on top in this clash, the Cowboys or the Sharks? Let us know in the comments and poll below.

  1. Poll: Who do you think comes out on top in this clash, the Cowboys or the Sharks?

    1. North Queensland Cowboys
    2. Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks
    14 votes
    Share Your Result

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Rob Sebastian

My name is Rob Sebastian. I absolutely love my sports, especially tennis and all forms of football. I love playing them as well, as I play tennis. I am a masters student, as well as a public servant and owner of a cleaning business.

North Queensland Cowboys vs Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks: Lineups, Preview and Prediction

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