Round 1 Preview: North Queensland Cowboys vs Cronulla Sharks



North Queensland Cowboys vs Canberra Raiders

Friday 9th March
1300 Smiles Stadium
8:05pm (NSW), 7:05pm (QLD) 10:05pm (NZ)



North Queensland Cowboys
1. Ben Hampton
2. Kyle Feldt
3. Justin O'Neill
4. Javid Bowen 
5. Antonio Winterstein
6. Michael Morgan
7. Johnathan Thurston (c)
8. Matthew Scott (c)
9. Jake Granville
10. Jordan McLean
11. Gavin Cooper
12. Ethan Lowe
13. Jason Taumalolo
Interchange: 14. Te Maire Martin, 15. Coen Hess, 16. Scott Bolton, 17. John Asiata

Reserves: 18. Corey Jensen, 19. Kyle Laybutt, 20. Francis Molo, 21. Enari Tuala

Cronulla Sharks
1. Valentine Holmes
2. Sosaia Feki
3. Josh Dugan
4. Ricky Leutele
5. Sione Katoa
6. Matthew Moylan
7. Chad Townsend
8. Andrew Fifita
9. Jayden Brailey
10. Matthew Prior
11. Luke Lewis
12. Wade Graham
13. Paul Gallen (c)

Interchange: 14. Jayson Bukuya, 15. James Segeyaro, 16. Avagalu Seumanufagai, 
17. Joseph Paulo

Reserves: 18. Kurt Capewell, 19. Kurt Dillon, 20. Aaron Gray, 21. Trent Hodkinson

In my opinion this will be the game of the round. We celebrate JT as he plays his 300th game, in what is believed to be his final season in the NRL. Already the Cowboys are firming up to be one of the premiership heavyweights and competition favourites but you can never count out the Sharks.

A key match-up which will be great to watch will be Jason Taumalolo taking on Paul Gallen. Last year these two were easily two of the best forwards all year round and it showed just how close it was when Paul Gallen edged out Taumalolo for the Lock of the Year. Will we see these two go head to head? who will come out on top? I believe that it will be Taumalolo. The much younger player starting his brand new 10 year contract will be out to prove a point that he is the best forward in the game right now. 

The Sharks see a rejuvenated lineup heading into tonight's clash with new faces like Matt Moylan and Josh Dugan joining the fold looking to make an impact and try to help lead their team to victory. However the Cowboys welcome back Matt Scott who tore his ACL in Round 2 last year and Johnathan Thurston who missed a good chunk of last year due to injury who will look to put on a show up north in front of the home crowd. 

Already facing a few injuries to start the season, The Cowboys show just how strong their depth is with Javid Bowen coming in to replace the injured Kane Linnett in the Centres and Ben Hampton will start at Fullback. 

Prediction:
Look for Te Maire Martin to come off the bench and make an impact around the ruck as the Sharks forwards start to tire. I can't go past the Cowboys in this one, I feel as if they will be too good and in front of a packed out crowd the Cowboys will get the job done bye 13+.

-Fewy

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