Cowboys are out to prove a point on Saturday against the Eels. Image courtesy of dailytelegraph.com.au
North Queensland Cowboys v Parramatta Eels
1300 Smiles Stadium
Saturday April 26 – 5:35 PM (AEST)
It’s hard to deny the facts. The North Queensland Cowboys have been on the end of some shocking calls over the past few seasons. Conspiracy is big word, but if last Friday night’s game against the Manly Sea Eagles is anything to go by, it might be the right one. With both the Cowboys and the Parramatta Eels in the spotlight after some contentious obstruction rulings last week, both are hoping the NRL gets it right sooner rather than later.
Johnathan Thurston put it plain and simple in an interview after the game, stating it just seems to be the way when you wear a Cowboys jersey. With the game hanging in the balance, the Sea Eagles crossed for a four-pointer that was a clear-cut case of obstruction. With that, the momentum swayed towards Manly, with Jamie Buhrer crossing minutes before fulltime, winning Manly the game. Rising star Curtis Rona retains his spot in the starting side after a blistering debut, with Robert Lui being dropped and Ray Thompson moving from hooker to half-back. As Ray Thompson moves in the halves, Rory Kostjasyn starts in the No.9 jersey, with Anthony Mitchell back-up on the bench. The return of Kane Linnett to the centre pushes Kyle Feldt out of the side, with Joel Riethmuller and Ethan Lowe added to an extended bench
Even though losing to the Tigers last Monday, the Eels showed the same courage and determination that has kept them planted in the top 8. Not harping on a poor obstruction ruling, Jarryd Hayne has called for consistency. Something the NRL officials have been incapable of doing so far this season. The only change is to second rower Kenny Edwards, who is out for 4-6 weeks with a broken hand, pushing Pauli Pauli into the starting side and Peni Terepo on the bench.
Completion rates will determine this game. With both teams completing less than 70% of their sets last week, the team that holds the ball will win this one. Add the JT factor, Cowboys look strong at home.
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