Do-Or-Die Derby

Image courtesy of dailytelegraph.com.au
Jonathan Thurston is rediscovering his best form. Image courtesy of dailytelegraph.com.au
Last 5 Meetings

Round 6, 2013 – Brisbane Broncos 12 d North QLD Cowboys 10 at Suncorp Stadium
1st Elimination Final, 2012 - North QLD Cowboys 33 d Brisbane Broncos 16 at Townsville
Round 15, 2012 - North QLD Cowboys 12 d Brisbane Broncos 0 at Townsville
Round 2, 2012 - North QLD Cowboys 28 d Brisbane Broncos 26 at Suncorp Stadium
Round 23, 2011 – Brisbane Broncos 34 d North QLD Cowboys 16 at Townsville

Current Form

  Rd 15    Rd 16    Rd 17    Rd 18    Rd 19 
Cowboys

-

W

L

L

-

Broncos

-

L

L

L

-


There will be more at stake than usual in the Queensland derby between the Cowboys  and Broncos  in Townsville on Friday night, with the losing team highly unlikely to make the NRL finals. Both clubs have won just six of their 17 matches this season, leaving them six points outside the eight and on the verge of having their 2013 campaign brought to a premature end.

North Queensland welcomes Origin stars Matt Scott, Jonathan Thurston, Brent Tate and James Tamou back into the side after they missed the clubs 34-14 defeat to Manly in round 18, while Dallas Johnson also returns after missing that match. Ashton Sims is back on the bench after missing two matches through suspension and takes the place of his axed brother Tariq on the bench, while Ashley Graham has been ruled out with an ankle injury. Michael Morgan will partner JT in the halves for the first time since round eight with Robert Lui omitted from the team.

The Broncos have also made a host of changes, with Justin Hodges, Sam Thaiday, Matt Gillett and Corey Parker all returning from rep duty after missing Brisbane’s 19-18 defeat to the Sharks a fortnight ago. Ben Hannant returns from injury to partner workhorse Josh McGuire in the front row, while Ben Hunt gets a chance to start at halfback with Peter Wallace on the bench. Josh Hoffman returns to fullback at the expense of Parramatta-bound Corey Norman after playing most of the season on the wing.

1st Tryscorer

Jonathan Thurston  may have only scored one try for the Cowboys this season, but it came against the Raiders in his most recent match for the club. In an ominous sign for Brisbane, he has been running the ball a lot in recent matches and also opened the scoring in State of Origin game three when taking the line on.

Alex Glenn  was amongst the leading tryscorers for the Broncos last year and will get a greater opportunity to add to the two tries he has scored in 2013 after being named to play at centre against the Cowboys. He has played predominantly as a second rower this season and will relish the extra space he will get in the backline on Friday night.

Prediction

Neither of these teams go into this match in great form, but there have been promising some promising signs from the Cowboys of late, with Matt Scott and Jonathan Thurston in better form now that they have been in at any other stage this season. They have won three of the past four meetings between these sides and can make amends for a 12-10 defeat to ‘big brother’ earlier this season. North Queensland Cowboys by 8

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