Jonathan Thurston will be key to the Cowboys chances. Photo: Getty Images/abc.net.au
Cowboys v Sharks
After putting in a dismal performance in the opening round of the season, the Cowboys have played well in the past two weeks, hammering the Eels 42-6 last weekend.
The Sharks have been playing well this season but had to wait till last week for their first win of the season, a 17-14 win over defending Premiers Manly. Bryce Gibbs has been added to that squad after being named at prop, although whether or not he plays is still undecided.
History – The Cowboys have won just nine of 28 matches against the Sharks and only six of fifteen at Dairy Farmers Stadium. The more pertinent stat however is that North Queensland has won four of the past five clashes between the sides.
Dangermen - Former Queensland State of Origin representative Matt Bowen appears to be regaining his best form and has scored three tries in the past two weeks.
Jeff Robson had a great game at halfback last week, giving Todd Carney more time and space to show some flair. As the partnership between the pair continues to grow, Carney will become more and more of a threat to the opposition line.
Prediction – North Queensland has been very good in the past couple of weeks and is awfully tough to beat at home. Having said that though, the Sharks will put up a good fight. Cowboys 1-12
Sea Eagles v Dragons
The Dragons were awesome against the Tigers last week, winning 36-12. Matt Cooper has been named to return at centre, while Beau Scott is another big name inclusion. Tony Williams seven week suspension adds to the disappointment of the Sea Eagles loss to the Sharks on Monday night, with Jamie Buhrer replacing him in the starting side.
History – The Dragons have dominated the meetings between these sides, with thirteen wins from eighteen clashes, including four from four at WIN Jubilee Oval. They won 24-6 here last season.
Dangermen – Brett Morris was a revelation last week after being moved to fullback, scoring a try and posing all sorts of problems for the Tigers. His battle with NSW fullback Brett Stewart will be one to savour.
Michael Oldfield scored a brace against Cronulla on Monday playing on the left wing. Manly scored 49 tries down that side in 2011 and with five already there this season, will continue to attack the left edge.
Prediction – The Dragons are unbeaten against Manly here and if they are in the same sort of form that they were against the Tigers last week, will keep that record intact. Dragons 1-12
Warriors v Titans
Both of these sides are coming off disappointing performances at home last week, losing to the Bulldogs and Storm respectively. The Warriors have made a host of changes this week, while big money signing Jamal Idris is still out for the Titans with a hamstring strain.
History – The Gold Coast holds a 6-4 historical advantage over the Warriors, but four meetings at Mt Smart Stadium have produced two wins apiece. New Zealand won both matches in 2011.
Dangermen – Fullback Kevin Locke has started the year in fine form, with two tries and a man of the match performance in the opening three rounds. His support play for the big men is exceptional.
Beau Champion was one of the Titans big name recruits in the offseason and will have to lift in the absence of Idris. He made his first start for his new club last weekend and will be raring to go in New Zealand.
Prediction – Despite their opening round win over the Cowboys, the Titans are yet to show their best form this season and will struggle again here with the Warriors too big and too strong for them. Warriors 13+ #QL_SS#
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