North Queensland Cowboys look to pile more misery on the embattled Manly Sea Eagles when the two sides square off in the final game on Super Saturday up in Townsville.
Cowboys vs Sea Eagles kicks off at 9.00pm AEDT at 1300SMILES Stadium. Live streaming is available via bet365 (geo restrictions apply in Australia/NZ).
Preview and Tips
Despite the Cowboys missing several key figures for this clash, they will still start as huge favourites to dismantle a Manly side that seems to be going from bad to worse with every passing week.
It’s been an absolutely thrilling start to the season if you’re a Cowboys fan.
North Queensland haven’t won a match in regulation time, but they remain unbeaten on four points courtesy of pulsating golden-point triumphs over the Raiders and Broncos.
It comes as no surprise that Johnathan Thurston was the main man in both of those victories, especially last week against Brisbane, when his field goal handed the Cowboys a 21-20 win.
But North Queensland’s win over Brisbane - the fourth time in their last five meetings that has been decided by one point - has come at a big cost.
Star prop Matt Scott is gone for the season after rupturing his ACL, while Lachlan Coote and Antonio Winterstein will both be missing from the backline through injury. Jason Taumalolo is also out after being suspended for a shoulder charge.
Nevertheless, even with all those players missing, the Cowboys should still easily account for the struggling Sea Eagles, especially at home.
Trent Barrett is odds-on to be the first coach sacked this season, and after watching the Sea Eagles in their first two games, it’s easy to see why.
There’s just no desire, no creativity, no intensity and seemingly no will to win at Manly right now, and their lacklustre 38-18 loss at home to Souths last week was the latest blow to the once proud club.
Daly Cherry-Evans is playing nothing like a $10 million man and he needs to step up and control his side around the field.
Honestly, if it wasn’t for the Trbojevic brothers, Manly’s current predicament would be even worse.
North Queensland have won five straight against Manly and I think they’ll make it six on Saturday night - and by a big margin.
- Cowboys have won their last five meetings with Manly
- North Queensland have scored 30+ points in four of those wins
- Manly haven’t won in Townsville since 2013
Boom teenager Kalyn Ponga replaces Coote at fullback for the Cowboys, while Javid Bowen comes onto the wing for Winterstein. Pat Kaufusi gets a start for Matt Scott, with Shaun Fensom tipped to fill in for Taumalolo.
Manly’s only change comes in the form of Shaun Lane, who joins the bench.
Cowboys: 1. Kalyn Ponga 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Justin O’Neill 4. Kane Linnett 5. Javid Bowen 6. Michael Morgan 7. Johnathan Thurston 8. Patrick Kaufusi 9. Jake Granville 10. Scott Bolton 11. Gavin Cooper 12. Ethan Lowe 13. Jason Taumalolo 14. Ben Hampton 15. John Asiata 16. Coen Hess 17. Sam Hoare 18. Shaun Fensom 19. Gideon Gela-Mosby 20. Corey Jensen 21. Ben Spina
Sea Eagles: 1. Tom Trbojevic 2. Jorge Taufua 3. Dylan Walker 4. Brian Kelly 5. Akuila Uate 6. Blake Green 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Brenton Lawrence 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. Nate Myles 11. Frank Winterstein 12. Curtis Sironen 13. Jake Trbojevic 14. Cameron Cullen 15. Lewis Brown 16. Jarrad Kennedy 17. Shaun Lane 18. Jonathan Wright 19. Jackson Hastings 20. Matthew Wright 21. Billy Bainbridge
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