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Preview: Cowboys v Sharks

With the finals a fortnight away and a crucial clash against the Warriors coming up at Mt Smart Stadium in Round 26, the Cowboys may have difficulty keeping their minds on the job this week.
Preview: Cowboys v Sharks
by NRL

With the finals a fortnight away and a crucial clash against the Warriors coming up at Mt Smart Stadium in Round 26, the Cowboys may have difficulty keeping their minds on the job this week.

But after three straight losses, Neil Henry's men need to produce a solid victory on Saturday night to put them in the strongest possible position to challenge the Warriors next week.

Three straight losses has sent the Cowboys tumbling out of the top four and they face a challenging eight days to win back the right to host a qualifying final at Dairy Farmers Stadium. They are equal with the Warriors on 30 competition points but trail the Auckland outfit by 44 points on for and against differences.

The aim for the Cowboys will be to win well against the Sharks and reduce the 44-point margin by as much as possible. A win by the Dragons over the Warriors on Sunday would be a bonus.

Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan has wielded the axe following his team's sixth consecutive loss last weekend but a number of those players he has promoted were themselves dropped only one or two losses ago.

Stick with a Cowboys try as First Scoring Play and look to a North Queensland win by 13+ points.

Best chances for First Tryscorer are Ashley Graham, Matt Bowen or Kallifa Faifai-Loa for the Cowboys or Isaac Gordon, John Williams or Colin Best for Cronulla.

North Queensland v Cronulla
Dairy Farmers Stadium
Saturday night 7.30pm


North Queensland Cowboys
1 Matthew Bowen, 2 Ashley Graham, 3 Brent Tate, 4 Willie Tonga, 5 Kalifa Faifai Loa, 6 Ray Thompson, 7 Johnathan Thurston [c], 8 Matthew Scott [c], 9 Aaron Payne, 10 James Tamou, 11 Gavin Cooper, 12 Glenn Hall, 13 Dallas Johnson. Subs: 14 James Segeyaro, 15 Tariq Sims, 16 Jason Taumalolo, 17 Ashton Sims, 18 Scott Bolton (one to be omitted).

Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks
1 Isaac Gordon, 2 Stewart Mills, 3 Dean Collis, 4 Colin Best, 5 John Williams, 6 Albert Kelly, 7 Wade Graham, 8 Kade Snowden, 9 John Morris, 10 Luke Douglas, 11 Jeremy Smith, 12 Anthony Tupou, 13 Paul Gallen [c]. Subs: 14 Sam Tagataese, 15 Johnny Mannah, 16 Paul Aiton, 17 Josh Cordoba.

Prediction - Matthew O'Neill: Cowboys by 8

OVERALL:
Total Games: 27
North Queensland Cowboys wins: 8. [Pts: 503]
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks wins: 19. [Pts: 678]
Draws: 0

Biggest wins:
North Queensland Cowboys: 42 pts: 2005 NRL Telstra Premiership - Round 13 - [View] Sat: Cowboys 56 d. Sharks 14 [Crowd: 20843]
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks: 36 pts: 2000 National Rugby League - Round 18 - [View] Sat Jun 3: Sharks 42 d. Cowboys 6 [Crowd: 11101]

Biggest Crowd: 1996 Optus Cup - Round 12 - [View] Sat Jun 22: Cowboys 16 d. Sharks 10 [Crowd: 22014]

Last 50 games against each other form line (most recent matches at end of line):
North Queensland Cowboys: LWLLLLLLLLLLLLWWLWLLWLLWWLW
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks: WLWWWWWWWWWWWWLLWLWWLWWLLWL

Last 10 games:
2011 NRL Telstra Premiership - Round 7 - [View] Sat: Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 12 l. North Queensland Cowboys 30 [Crowd: 7340]
2010 NRL Telstra Premiership - Round 16 - [View] Sat: North Queensland Cowboys 19 l. Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 20 [Crowd: 13063]
2009 NRL Telstra Premiership - Round 17 - [View] Sat: North Queensland Cowboys 24 d. Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 4 [Crowd: 17283]
2009 NRL Telstra Premiership - Round 6 - [View] Sun: Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 10 l. North Queensland Cowboys 34 [Crowd: 8547]
2008 NRL Telstra Premiership - Round 26 - [View] Sat: Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 28 d. North Queensland Cowboys 22 [Crowd: 7057]
2008 NRL Telstra Premiership - Round 9 - [View] Sat: North Queensland Cowboys 18 l. Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 24 [Crowd: 17065]
2007 NRL Telstra Premiership - Round 12 - [View] Sat: North Queensland Cowboys 26 d. Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 24 [Crowd: 20075]
2006 NRL Telstra Premiership - Round 14 - [View] Sat: Cowboys 4 l. Sharks 26 [Crowd: 16778]
2006 NRL Telstra Premiership - Round 7 - [View] Sat: Sharks 24 d. Cowboys 22 [Crowd: 9025]
2005 NRL Telstra Premiership - Round 13 - [View] Sat: Cowboys 56 d. Sharks 14 [Crowd: 20843]

Overall record at Dairy Farmers Stadium, Kirwan, Townsville (QLD) Stats:
North Queensland Cowboys: 200 games, won 87, drawn 2, lost 111.
Last 5 games:
2011 NRL Telstra Premiership - Round 23 - [View] Fri: North Queensland Cowboys 16 l. Brisbane Broncos 34
2011 NRL Telstra Premiership - Round 21 - [View] Sat: North Queensland Cowboys 30 d. Penrith Panthers 18
2011 NRL Telstra Premiership - Round 19 - [View] Sat: North Queensland Cowboys 18 l. Wests Tigers 38
2011 NRL Telstra Premiership - Round 15 - [View] Sat: North Queensland Cowboys 30 d. New Zealand Warriors 10
2011 NRL Telstra Premiership - Round 12 - [View] Sat: North Queensland Cowboys 20 d. Sydney Roosters 6

Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks: 15 games, won 9, drawn 0, lost 6.
Last 5 games:
2010 NRL Telstra Premiership - Round 16 - [View] Sat: North Queensland Cowboys 19 l. Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 20
2009 NRL Telstra Premiership - Round 17 - [View] Sat: North Queensland Cowboys 24 d. Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 4
2008 NRL Telstra Premiership - Round 9 - [View] Sat: North Queensland Cowboys 18 l. Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 24
2007 NRL Telstra Premiership - Round 12 - [View] Sat: North Queensland Cowboys 26 d. Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 24
2006 NRL Telstra Premiership - Round 14 - [View] Sat: Cowboys 4 l. Sharks 26

Head to Head at Dairy Farmers Stadium, Kirwan, Townsville (QLD) Stats:
Total Games: 14
North Queensland Cowboys wins: 5. [Pts: 279]
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks wins: 9. [Pts: 330]
Draws: 0

Last 5 games:
2010 NRL Telstra Premiership - Round 16 - [View] Sat: North Queensland Cowboys 19 l. Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 20 [Crowd: 13063]
2009 NRL Telstra Premiership - Round 17 - [View] Sat: North Queensland Cowboys 24 d. Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 4 [Crowd: 17283]
2008 NRL Telstra Premiership - Round 9 - [View] Sat: North Queensland Cowboys 18 l. Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 24 [Crowd: 17065]
2007 NRL Telstra Premiership - Round 12 - [View] Sat: North Queensland Cowboys 26 d. Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 24 [Crowd: 20075]
2006 NRL Telstra Premiership - Round 14 - [View] Sat: Cowboys 4 l. Sharks 26 [Crowd: 16778]

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