Cowboys searching to snap Sydney streak
The North Queensland Cowboys travel to Sydney for the first time in 2012, searching to end a six-year losing streak at ANZ Stadium.by NRL
The North Queensland Cowboys travel to Sydney for the first time in 2012, searching to end a six-year losing streak at ANZ Stadium. The Cowboys became the first team to score 50 points in a match this season when they thumped the Sydney Roosters in their last start in Darwin two weeks ago. Their opponents, the South Sydney Rabbitohs, will be looking to redeem themselves after conceding 40 points in their last match against the Warriors in New Zealand. Since their round 1 capitulation against the Gold Coast Titans, the Cowboys have averaged 29 points scored per match, the second best in the competition behind front runners, the Melbourne Storm. Before their last start loss, the home side had recorded three straight victories, a streak they will be hoping to increase this season.
The teams: The North Queensland Cowboys have named an unchanged line up to the side that demolished the Roosters in Darwin two weeks ago. Tariq Sims has kept his starting spot over Glenn Hall and young Jason Taumalolo will start from the bench again this week. Matt Scott, rated as less than a 50-50 chance of playing, will travel with the side, but will not feature unless a minor miracle occurs for the visitors. The Rabbitohs have made minor changes to their line-up with winger Chris McQueen being promoted to the run-on side, pushing Dylan Farrell into the centres for Shaune Corrigan. Queensland Cup stalwart prop Josh Starling is destined to make his NRL debut coming off the bench replacing Corrigan in the final 17, while Nathan Merritt has been named on an extended bench and may be a late inclusion.
Souths: Greg Inglis, Andrew Everingham, Matt King, Dylan Farrell, Chris McQueen, John Sutton, Adam Reynolds, Scott Geddes, Issac Luke, David Tyrell, Eddy Pettybourne, David Taylor, Michael Crocker. Interchange (from): Jason Clark, Ben Lowe, Necron Areaiiti, Josh Starling, Shaune Corrigan, Nathan Merritt.
Cowboys: Matt Bowen, Ashley Graham, Brent Tate, Antonio Winterstein, Kalifa Fai Fai Loa, Johnathan Thurston, Ray Thompson, Ashton Sims, Aaron Payne, James Tamou, Gavin Cooper, Tariq Sims, Dallas Johnson. Interchange: James Segeyaro, Glenn Hall, Ricky Thorby, Jason Taumalolo.
Past Stats: The Cowboys have not won at ANZ Stadium since 2006, the last time they left victorious was ironically against their opponents this week. The closest they came was last year in round 24, when the Cowboys squandered a 12-point lead against the Rabbitohs with less than nine minutes on the clock before losing controversially in extra time. The Cowboys have been first try-scorer in their last six games, a statistic the visitors will be hoping to continue to lay an early platform.
Danger men: While most players had the week off last round as the representative season began, David Taylor was making his debut for the Australian Kangaroos. The man labelled as the human coal-train has been in devastating form and will have Australian teammate Johnathan Thurston in his sights this weekend. Joining Taylor on the right edge will be rookie winger Andrew Everingham who has been in sensational form since debuting in round three, scoring eight tries in his five matches. The Cowboys left edge defence will have to keep these two in-form players under control or it could be a long day at the office. Since moving to fullback, Greg Inglis has seen the ball in his hands a lot more and has averaged 157 running metres, giving the Souths good service from the back.
Barnesy's Bet: The South Sydney side have a depleted front row rotation, so if the Cowboys bookends in James Tamou and Ashton Sims can replicate their past performances, the visitors have the fire power to capitalise on field position. The Cowboys should secure the two points comfortably, so look to a 13+ point winning margin. For Cowboys first try scorer look for Matt Bowen or Ashley Graham, who are averaging a try a game this season and like to cross the stripe early. For the home side Andrew Everingham has been in outstanding try-scoring form and if Nathan Merritt is a late inclusion, he will be looking to get his 2012 season off to a flying start.
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