The Roosters and Cowboys are set to do battle on Saturday night with a place in the NRL Grand Final next weekend up for grabs for the victor.
Sydney: Michael Gordon; Daniel Tupou, Latrell Mitchell, Mitchell Aubusson, Blake Ferguson; Luke Keary, Mitchell Pearce; Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Jake Friend, Dylan Napa, Boyd Cordner, Aidan Guerra, Isaac Liu. Ryan Matterson, Sio Siua Taukeiaho, Zane Tetevano, Connor Watson.
North Queensland: Lachlan Coote; Kyle Feldt, Justin O’Neill, Kane Linnett, Antonio Winterstein; Te Maire Martin, Michael Morgan; John Asiata, Jake Granville, Scott Bolton, Gavin Cooper, Ethan Lowe, Jason Taumalolo. Ben Hampton, Coen Hess, Matt Scott, Shaun Fensom.
35 games have been played between these two sides with the Roosters winning 25 to the Cowboys 10. They last met in Round 21 this year where the Roosters came away with a tight 22-16 win.
The Roosters started 2017 with a solid first round win against the Titans before holding off a fast finishing Bulldogs outfit 28-24 in Round 2. They then toppled Penrith 14-12 at Penrith in a magnificent battle. In Round 4 they dominated their bitter rivals South Sydney 20-6 before their undefeated run was ended by Manly, who won a tough battle 18-12. The Roosters were disappointing in a fast paced game against Brisbane where they lost 32-8. They then had to work for their 24-6 win over Newcastle before winning a thriller against the Dragons by 1 point. They then lost by a point against the Warriors before belting the Eels 48-10. They had a 6 point win over the Bulldogs and an 8 point loss to the Raiders before a stunning performance saw them beat the Broncos 18-16. In Round 14 they hammered the Tigers yet again 40-18 before pipping the Storm by 1 point in extra time. After the Roosters were hammered 44-12 by Cronulla they have beaten Souths by 2, the Knights 28-4 and then they toppled the Cowboys by 6 points. The Roosters were blown away by Manly 36-18 in Round 22 and then pipped by the Storm 16-13 before struggling to overcome the lowly Wests Tigers by 4 points. They then beat Cronulla 16-14 before defeating a spirited Titans outfit 20-16. The Roosters pipped the Broncos in the first week of the finals 24-22 to advance to this match and earn a week off.
The Cowboys opened their 2017 season with a golden point victory over a very strong Canberra side, scoring a fortunate try to win 20-16. They again returned to Golden Point in Round 2 in yet another classic match against the Broncos. A field goal by Johnathan Thurston got the Cowboys home 21-20, however they suffered heavy losses with several players injured, which showed the following week when they were overcome by Manly 30-8. The Cowboys bounced back to beat a fast finishing Titans side 32-26. After beating a poor Souths side 20-6 in Round 5, the Cowboys suffered a shock loss to the Tigers 26-16. They staged a second half fightback against the Dragons the following week, but fell short 28-22. They toppled the Knights 24-12 before a dismal effort against the Eels saw them go down 26-6. In Round 10 they cruised to a 30-14 win over an in-form Bulldogs side, before going down to Premiers Cronulla 18-14 in a spirited performance. After the bye, the Cowboys have been much better, beating the Titans 20-8 before easily accounting for the Eels 32-6. They then lost by a point to the Storm before beating; Penrith 14-12; a woeful Raiders side 31-18; Souths 23-10 and then the Warriors 24-12. After they went down to the Roosters 22-16, they have started to struggle, losing again to Melbourne by 18 points, then 24-16 to Penrith and 26-16 to the Sharks. The Cowboys bounced back with a late flurry to topple the Tigers 22-14, before losing their 5th game in 6 weeks, to the Broncos 20-10. The Cowboys then had a miraculous extra time victory over defending premiers Cronulla in the first week of the finals 15-14. They then overpowered Parramatta last week 24-16.
Roosters expectation v Cowboys grit – The Roosters, just like the Sharks and Eels before them, will come into this match expecting to win comfortably against an injury hit Cowboys. The Cowboys though have been gritty all year despite their setbacks and have made a knack in the finals of winning despite adversity.
Roosters should win easily. But the Cowboys have proven that they cannot be written off.
North Queensland $3.20