Matt Bowen scored the match winner against the Broncos last week. Picture: Glenn Barnes/couriermail.com.au
Cowboys v Eels
The Cowboys will go into this match buoyed by their last gasp win over ‘big brother’ Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium last Friday, but will also have lingering memories of their dismal performance in front of their home fans in week one.
The Eels have made a terrible start to the new campaign, losing both of their matches and fullback Jarryd Hayne in the process. They are boosted by the return of both Nathan Hindmarsh and Luke Burt for this clash however.
History – Parramatta has a good record against North Queensland, winning 16 of their 27 clashes, including five of the past six. Things have been a bit more even at Dairy Farmers Stadium however, with eleven games producing five wins apiece and a draw. The Cowboys won 40-26 here in round 10 last season.
Dangermen – Former Queensland State of Origin representative Matt Bowen is fully fit after a couple of injury-plagued years and excelled against the Broncos last week scoring two tries, including the winner.
Jarryd Hayne’s injury means that Luke Burt earns a recall to the top grade after being dropped for the game against the Warriors. He scored a hat-trick of tries for Wentworthville and will be determined to build on that in his NRL comeback.
Prediction – The Cowboys played really well last week and the scary thing for the Eels is that Jonathan Thurston wasn’t even particularly impressive. If he hits top gear, this could get messy. Cowboys 13+
Titans v Storm
The Titans backed up their opening round win over the Cowboys with a dismal home defeat at the hand of the Raiders last week. Things don’t get any easier this week, against the unbeaten Storm , especially with Jamal Idris ruled out through injury.
History – These teams have met on only seven occasions in the NRL, with Melbourne holding a slender 4-3 career advantage. The Titans have won two out of three at home, but lost both matches against the Storm last year, including a 40-16 drubbing here in round 23 last season.
Dangermen – Rookie five-eight Jordan Rankin was one of the Titans best in a losing cause against the Raiders, breaking nine tackles and scoring a try. Still just 20, he is growing in confidence every week.
Billy Slater has already scored four tries this season and has reaffirmed his status as one of the best players in the game. The Gold Coast will have to be at their best to keep him quiet.
Prediction – The Storm’s big name players are all firing at the moment and although the Titans will surely be better than last week, have too much firepower for the hosts. Melbourne 1-12
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