MATCH UP STATS
Round 3 ResultsNorth Queensland Cowboys: Cowboys 14 defeated by Storm 30Penrith Panthers: Panthers 18 defeated by Bulldogs 20
DESPITE putting together a less than ideal start to the NRL season, the North Queensland Cowboys still have plenty of time to right the ship.
The Cowboys are fresh off an embarrassing 16 point loss in last week’s Grand Final rematch, getting blown off the park by the reigning premiers.
Will a return to Townsville be the catalyst to get them back on the winner’s list for the first time since round one?
Their Thursday night opponents the Penrith Panthers are fresh off their first defeat of the season, but will be happy with where they sit after three rounds.
The Panthers recorded back-to-back wins to start the season but went on to lose last week against the Bulldogs by a narrow two point margin. It was a golden opportunity to keep themselves at the top of the NRL standings.
The Panthers ($23 in premiership betting at Sportsbet) are currently in fifth position while the Cowboys ($5.50) are in 12th place heading into this pivotal match up.
Bulldogs vs. Panthers players to watch
Coen Hess – Coen Hess scored a double last week against the Melbourne Storm and the try scoring machine again looms as a game-changer for the home side. The 21-year-old, who has seen his infantile career compared to some of the all-time greats, has been a prolific scorer in his short career, scoring 21 tries from 39 games. Good luck stopping him Penrith.
Josh Mansour – As speculation begins to swirl around his uncertain future, all Mansour can do to ensure his next contract is a lucrative one is play to the optimal level. The talented 27-year-old scored a try at the death to keep his side in it last week against the Dogs, which is what he has to do. Keep an eye on Mansour this week to again feature on the score sheet.
Predicted North Queensland Cowboys team list
1 Ben Hampton/Lachlan Coote, 2 Kyle Feldt, 3 Justin O’Neill, 4 Javid Bowen, 5 Antonio Winterstein, 6 Michael Morgan, 7 Johnathan Thurston (c), 8 Matthew Scott (c), 9 Jake Granville, 10 Jordan McLean, 11 Gavin Cooper, 12 Coen Hess, 13 Jason Taumalolo
Interchange: 14 Te Maire Martin/Ben Hamptom, 15 John Asiata, 16 Scott Bolton, 17 Ethan Lowe
Predicted Penrith Panthers team list
1 Dylan Edwards, 2 Josh Mansour, 3 Waqa Blake, 4 Dean Whare, 5 Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, 6 Tyrone Peachey/Jarome Luai, 7 James Maloney, 8 James Tamou, 9 Peter Wallace, 10 Reagan Campbell-Gillard, 11 Viliame Kikau, 12 Isaah Yeo, 13 Trent Merrin
Interchange: 14 Tyrone Peachey, 15 Corey Harawira-Naera, 16 Moses Leota, 17 James Fisher-Harris
Who wins – Cowboys or Panthers?
It hasn’t gone to plan for the Cowboys so far in 2018 but they get the perfect opportunity to bounce back at home against the Panthers.
The scoring options of the home side are seemingly endless and with one of the all-time greats of the game JT roaming around calling the shots, even the very best defenses will be tested.
For all the Panthers good work this season, in both of their wins they have trailed before rallying late to overcome their opponents. The Cowboys won’t be so forgiving.
We’re expecting North Queensland to easily account for Penrith to get its season back on track.
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