On Saturday the rising Raiders travel up to North Queensland to play the low ranking Cowboys at Dairy Famers Stadium, the first time these two meet this season.
The Cowboys look in big trouble here. Now the last of the premiership contenders, North Queensland have lost their last three matches including their big 32 – 4 loss to the Rabbitohs last week, having secured just one victory in their last eight.
Canberra, on the other hand, are just two spots outside of the top eight after winning their last two against the Dragons and then the Titans and will start this match as the favourites currently at $1.48 through Ladbrokes.com.au.
After their uninspiring season the Cowboys go into this one as the underdogs, paying $2.45 at the moment at Ladbrokes.com.au, with the home ground advantage meaning little here.
What pushes this game even more out of reach for the Cowboys is that they have four of their star players away on Origin duties. North Queensland struggled without their skipper Thurston throughout the first Origin game and will do so again. The Cowboys are also missing Willie Tonga, Matthew Scott and Luke O’Donnell.
The Raiders have just two of their players away because of Origin with Dave Shillington replacing Civonicieva as the Maroon’s No. 10 and Tom Learoyd-Lahrs on the bench for the Blues. Canberra’s explosive young fullback Josh Dugan was originally named in NSW’s extended 21-man Origin team, but was dropped from the final 17. He will be out to prove he should have been selected on Saturday, so watch out Cowboys.
Canberra have been travelling okay this season, have Campese getting away plenty of offloads, and should be able to head up North and win their first in Townsville since 2006.
Current Head-to-Head Odds: Cowboys $2.45 – Raiders $1.55 Ladbrokes.com.au
Round 14 Cowboys Team:
1. Matthew Bowen 2. Michael Bani 3. Ashley Graham 4. Will Tupou 5. John Williams 6. Michael Morgan 7. Grant Rovelli 8. Carl Webb 9. Aaron Payne 10. James Tamou 11. Scott Bolton 12. Willie Mason 13. Leeson Ah Mau
Bench: 14. Anthony Watts 15. Steve Rapira 16. Antonio Kaufusi 17. Issac Ah Mau
Reserve: 18. Dane Hogan
Round 14 Raiders Team:
1. Josh Dugan 2. Joel Monaghan 3. Jarrod Croker 4. Joel Thompson 5. Daniel Vidot 6. Terry Campese (c) 7. Josh McCrone 8. Dane Tilse 9. Glen Buttriss 10. Scott Logan 11. Joe Picker 12. Bronson Harrison 13. Trevor Thurling
Bench: 14. Travis Waddell 15. Shaun Fensom 16. Troy Thompson 17. Adam Mogg
Reserve: 18. Danny Galea