NRL Round 16 – Match 5 Preview: North Queensland Cowboys v Cronulla Sharks

In an evenly matched showdown between two of the worst performers this season, Saturday has the Cowboys hosting the Sharks at Dairy Farmers Stadium in Townsville.

The Sharks have been very inconsistent this season and despite a couple of surprise wins, are still well down the ladder in the 13th spot after their big 22 – 4 loss to the Dragons last round. But there are still a number of teams who have been even less impressive than Cronulla this year, and the Cowboys are one of them.

Despite talent like Thurston, Tonga and Mason, North Queensland have been the disappointment of the year only managing four wins and are now positioned as the last of the premiership contenders. Last week they suffered their worst loss of the season when they were thrashed 58 – 12 by the Storm, and will no doubt still be hurting after the embarrassment.

This week the Cowboys have the home ground advantage, but that has really counted for little this season. Still, it is enough to have the bookies confident of their success with Ladbrokes.com.au installing them as the $1.48 favourites while Cronulla are out to $2.65 for a win.

We like the home team for this one, they are at full strength and should prevail at home, especially as the Sharks have lost Kade Snowden to suspension.

Still, with North Queensland playing second grade footy of late and with the Sharks having had some success as Gallen and Barrett do their best to bring them out of the slump, this will be a close one.

A spot in the playoffs, even with a win here, looks very unlikely for either of these two. But North Queensland still have a bye up their sleeve and there is always the Eels late season comeback last year to use as inspiration.

Cowboys to make Thurston smile because of a club win!

Current Head-to-Head Odds:

Cowboys $1.48 – Sharks $2.65 Ladbrokes.com.au

Round 16 Cowboys Team:

1. Shannon Gallant 2. Ashley Graham 3. Ben Harris 4. Willie Tonga 5. John Williams 6. Matthew Bowen 7. Johnathan Thurston 8. Matthew Scott 9. Aaron Payne 10. James Tamou 11. Scott Bolton 12. Willie Mason 13. Steve Rapira

Bench: 14. Anthony Watts 15. Leeson Ah Mau 16. Carl Webb 17. Dane Hogan

Reserve: 18. Taulima Tautai

Round 16 Sharks Team:

1. Nathan Gardner 2. Blake Ferguson 3. Dean Collis 4. Ben Pomeroy 5. Isaac Gordon 6. Trent Barrett (c) 7. Tim Smith 8. Josh Cordoba 9. John Morris 10. Luke Douglas 11. Grant Millington 12. Anthony Tupou 13. Paul Gallen

Bench: 14. Adam Cuthbertson 15. Broderick Wright 16. Paul Aiton 17. Siosaia Vave

Reserve: 18. Taulima Tautai