Knights v Cowboys
Monday June 23 – 7:05 PM (AEST)
There are no more excuses for the Newcastle Knights . They have the roster to win games, yet they keep coming up short. For a team with over 2,000 games experience between them, including a coach who is about to hit 700 matches in first grade, there is no reason for their form slump. The North Queensland Cowboys are also not living up to everyone’s expectations. With so much promise in their roster, and arguably the world’s best player steering them around, they have only five wins this season.
What is going on in Newcastle? Either something is wrong internally, or someone at the Knights has walked under a ladder. They have the game’s most experienced coach in Wayne Bennett at the helm. But no matter how hard they try, they can’t seem to get the points on the board. They have had their hard times, but the game goes on, and that’s exactly what the Knights need to do. Origin stars Darius Boyd and Beau Scott return to the starting side, dropping Jake Mamo and Travis Waddell out of the squad. Joseph Leilua returns to the centres, Kurt Gidley to hooker and Adam Clydsdale to the bench. Clint Newton has been named as 18th man.
The Cowboys looked like finishing high on the ladder in the pre-season. After winning the inaugural Auckland Nines in February, they kicked off the comp with an impressive win over the Raiders. But as soon as they leave Townsville, they seem to forget how to play footy. Having not won away from home this year is a big problem for the Cowboys. If Paul Green hopes to make it to the finals in his rookie season as head coach, he needs to get his men to work together. Brent Tate's season and possibly career look over after another serious knee injury. Unlike Tate, Johnathan Thurston, James Tamou and Matt Scott return from Origin duty. Tariq Sims is back in the starting side, pushing Jason Taumalolo to the bench and John Asiata out of the side.
It’s getting to the point where every game is a must win game for both teams, and it adds extra excitement when sides like these two are desperate. If they both turn up to play, this one is going to be a Monday night thriller.
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