NRL Round 10 – Match 5 Preview: New Zealand Warriors v North Queensland Cowboys

Well didn’t the Cowboys cause a stir last week when they claimed a shock 32 – 14 win ahead of the Roosters?

It was just their third win for the season and their dismal form and injury marred season sees them currently sitting well down the ladder in number 14. But Matty Bowen was back with a bang last week, making a big difference to the Cowboys and aiding them in breaking their four-match losing streak.

This Saturday night showdown at Mt Smart Stadium has North Queensland well out of their comfort zone as they play New Zealand in Auckland. And because of this and despite their big Round 9 win, the Cowboys are the underdogs here currently paying $2.95 through Ladbrokes.com.au.

The Warriors on the other hand are at the short odds of $1.40 right now as they have the home ground (and home country) advantage as well as a Round 9 rest thanks to a bye.

Prior to that, however, they did go down in a nasty loss to the Raiders, their third successive defeat. They previously lost 40 – 6 to the Storm and 40 – 12 to the Panthers, so one would have calculated their odds with this record to be a little longer.

But with a number of big players and star attackers making a return, namely winger Manu Vatuvei and playmaker Brett Seymour, this could be the one New Zealand have been waiting for.

Meanwhile the Cowboys are still without Thurston and are looking a little strained without him, especially after a short turnaround having played on Monday night.

A victory by the Warriors could see them finish this round in the top eight, so it is an important match for New Zealand.

But if the explosive Bowen improves second-up on Saturday and the Warriors don’t keep their eye on him, then the Cowboys could cause an upset. They will be playing with passion, especially after the Thurston re-signing, but sometimes that is just not enough.

The Cowboys and the Warriors are the two teams, of an original four, who were newly formed in 1995. Since then they have come head-to-head 26 times, with 13 wins each so it is a tricky one to pick.

Whoever picks up their defence this week will come out on top and we just don’t think the Cowboys without JT can make it two away wins in a row. Sorry North Queensland.

Current Head-to-Head Odds: Warriors $1.40 – Cowboys $2.95 Ladbrokes.com.au

Round 10 Warriors Team:

1. Lance Hohaia 2. Kevin Locke 3. Brent Tate 4. Jerome Ropati 5. Manu Vatuvei 6. James Maloney 7. Brett Seymour 8. Sam Rapira 9. Aarom Heremaia 10. Mataupu Poching 11. Simon Mannering (c) 12. Ukuma Ta’ai 13. Michael Luck

Bench: 14. Ian Henderson 15. Ben Matulino 16. Jeremy Latimore 17. Russell Packer

Reserves: 18. Jesse Royal

Round 10 Cowboys Team:

1. Matt Bowen 2. John Williams 3. Ashley Graham 4. Willie Tonga 5. Michael Bani 6. Grant Rovelli 7. Michael Morgan 8. Matt Scott 9. Aaron Payne 10. James Tamou 11. Scott Bolton 12. Willie Mason 13. Leeson Ah Mau

Bench: 14. Anthony Watts 15. Dane Hogan 16. Manase Manuokafoa 17. Antonio Kaufusi