2018 NRL – North Queensland Cowboys vs Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks Preview

AT A GLANCE

When? Friday 9th March, 08:50

Where? 1300SMILES Stadium

What channel is it on? Sky Sports Arena, Nine network, Foxtel

Where can I stream the match? Sky Sports subscribers can stream the match online via Sky Go

https://www.foxtel.com.au/outa...

https://www.telstra.com.au/tv-...

Are tickets still available? https://www.cowboys.com.au/gam...

THE LOWDOWN

COWBOYS

Head Coach: Paul Green

Squad: Hampton, Feldt, O'Neill, Bowen, Winterstein, Morgan, Thurston, Scott, Granville, McLean, Cooper, Lowe, Taumalolo - Interchanges: Martin, Hess, Bolton, Asiata - Reserves: Jensen, Laybutt, Molo, Tuala

Unavailable: Lachlan Coote

  • North Queensland Cowboys will be hoping the return of their co-captains can inspire them to go one better having lost in last season’s NRL Grand Final.
  • Matt Scott missed the vast majority of the season with an ACL injury whilst future immortal Johnathan Thurston returns following a shoulder injury to make his 300th NRL appearance. They will be joined by new signing Jordan McLean to add to an already formidable pack.
  • The Cowboys averaged just 19.3 points per game last season but with Thurston’s return alongside Michael Morgan in the halves as well as their huge pack laying the platform, they can surpass that mark this season.

SHARKS

Head Coach: Shane Flanagan

Squad: Holmes, Feki, Dugan, Leutele, Katoa, Moylan, Townsend, Fifita, Brailey, Prior, Lewis, Graham, Gallen - Interchanges: Bukuya, Segeyaro, Seumanufagai, Paulo - Reserves: Capewell, Dillon

Unavailable:

  • Cronulla Sharks will be hoping to improve on last season’s fifth-place finish with them starting their campaign against the side that ended their season in the first round of the play-offs last season.
  • The Sharks have been boosted by the signings of Matt Moylan and Josh Dugan but their arrivals could be countered by the loss of James Maloney and Jack Bird.
  • Cronulla were impressive defensively last season, conceding just 407 points in the regular season which was the second lowest total of any side behind Premiership winners Melbourne. If the Sharks can hold opponents to 16.8 points per game on average again this season, they will be in the mix come the business end of the year.

THE PREDICTION

This game is all about the returning Johnathan Thurston and rightly so as the halfback makes his 300th NRL appearance. Thurston’s return along with Matt Scott is huge for the Cowboys but they will have to be wary the occasion doesn’t get to them. The Sharks will be out for revenge against the side that ended their season with just a one-point margin separating the two teams in week one of last year’s play-offs. However, the Cowboys should be able to repel the Sharks and celebrate Thurston’s milestone in style.