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Warriors Away To The Cowboys


Warriors Away To The Cowboys

Warriors Away To The Cowboys



Warriors v North Queensland Cowboys

When: Saturday July 22, 2017.

Where:  1300Smiles Stadium, Townsville.

Watch it: LIVE. SKY Sport 2 from 9.30pm.

Batten down the hatches folks. Things are looking grim.

Mathematically, I reckon the Warriors now need to win six of their last seven if they are to play finals football.

But in typical rugby league parlance, how can you take things any other way than one week at a time?

The Warriors just have to win, and then assess. Maybe sides ahead of them like the Panthers, Eels and Dragons will all lose, but Steve Kearney’s team have no control over that.

And I’m not sure how you write into a mathematical equation the injury loss of a superstar halfback. Whatever it is, the ‘sum’ of Shaun Johnson is considerable because the Warriors looked rather lifeless without him in the closing stages of last Friday night’s game against Penrith.

So lets bring the focus back to North Queensland on Saturday night.

While the record of the Warriors against the Cowboys overall is good (18 wins from 36 meetings), Townsville has always proven a tough away trip.

Indeed when the Warriors last won at the venue in 2014, (20-16), it ended a 12 year drought.

But since then it’s been back to North Queensland dominance with a last minute win in 2015, and then a 34-6 victory last year.

Last week registered the first time the Cowboys have ever won three matches in a row without Johnathan Thurston. Other senior players in their side such as Michael Morgan have stepped up in JT’S absence. The Warriors squad need to do the same without Johnson.

On that note, I am putting plenty of pressure on Kieran Foran (pictured) to lead the way. While I’m happy for Mason Lino to get another chance in the NRL, it would be a big call to expect him to dominate, not having played first grade in almost two years.

The other enormous challenge for the Warriors will be containing Jason Taumalolo. He showed signs against the South Sydney pack last weekend that he is ready for a charge to the finals. 

It’s a big game, but then again they’re all big from here while the playoffs are still a hope

The hot tip:

New Zealand international Te Maire Martin has made a solid start to his career at the Cowboys with two wins from two matches. I expect to see his name on the North Queensland scorer’s sheet on Saturday night.

Kiwi watch:

Tonight catch the Broncos against the Bulldogs, New Zealand captain elect Adam Blair will lead the Brisbane team hoping to take a step closer to sealing a top four berth.

We’ll have a double header for you on Friday night with Jared Waerea-Hargreaves skippering the Roosters against the bottom placed Knights.

Following that clash will be the battle between the Sharks and the Rabbitohs.

I have tagged Super Saturday this week on SKY Sport as Sudden Death Saturday with the Warriors, Titans and Raiders all under massive pressure to stay in contention for the finals.

The Panthers-Titans game will get things underway at 5pm. In the second game look for Jesse Bromwich and co. to have a huge forwards clash with Canberra. Former Warriors Erin Clark has been listed in the 21 man squad for the Raiders.

And on Sunday, our SKY Sport double will see the Dragons at home to the Sea Eagles, while Manu Ma’u will return from injury for Parramatta against the Tigers.

From the vault:

There was a fantastic win for the Warriors in Round 20 of their very first year back in 1995.

Coming off a 33 point thrashing at the hands of St George, the Warriors bounced back to upset the eventual premiers of ’95, the Bulldogs.

Greg Alexander, Stephen Kearney and Phil Blake were all among the tryscorers in the 29-8 win. Daryl Halligan (have you heard of him?) scored all of the Bulldogs points through a try and two goals.

My tips for round 20:

Broncos, Roosters, Sharks, Panthers, Storm, Cowboys, Sea Eagles, Eels.

Twitter: @AndrewVossy

Photp: Photosport

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