Canterbury Bulldogs vs. North Queensland Cowboys
MATCH UP STATS
Canterbury Bulldogs vs. North Queensland Cowboys
Season record:Canterbury Bulldogs: 5-4North Queensland Cowboys: 5-4
Last 5 results:Canterbury Bulldogs: WLWWWNorth Queensland Cowboys: LWLLW
Thursday, May 11, 7.50pm. ANZ Stadium
THE 2017 season hasn’t quite gone to plan for the North Queensland Cowboys and things won’t get any easier this Thursday.
A string of poor performances and the injury to Johnathan Thurston have all contributed to a 5-4 record this season and reports suggest that Thurston has picked up another shoulder injury in Friday night’s test match.
Thurston returned from injury to guide the Kangaroos to a dominating victory over the Kiwis, but his latest injury will likely keep him out of Origin and Thursday night’s clash against the Bulldogs as the Cowboys will look to turn around some poor recent form, which included a 6-26 loss at the hands of the Eels in round nine.
They take on the Bulldogs, who scored an upset win over the Raiders last week and have won four of the last five games – the only loss coming to the Tigers.
This game is going to be a tremendous battle of two powerful forward packs. The Cowboys will have the likes of Jason Taumalolo, Cohen Hess and Gavin Cooper – one of the more mobile forward packs in the NRL.
The Bulldogs represent pure size.
James Graham, David Klemmer and Sam Kasiano are all coming off representative football and despite a possible fatigue factor, the Bulldogs strongmen will give the Sydney-based outfit a big boost.
The bookmakers have installed the Bulldogs as the favourites and given the form and the exclusion of Thurston we’d have to agree, but the Cowboys pose some try-scoring threats and we look at the best first try-scoring odds for the big Thursday night clash.
Canterbury Bulldogs first try-scorer tips
The Bulldogs are one of the strongest sides in the NRL and their strength is often noted, but they have some classy outside backs which can set the try-scoring ranks alight.
The Morris brothers don’t quite score as often as they used to, but Brett Morris is the favourite to score first and along with the likes of Brenko Lee and Kerrod Holland, there are many options for Bulldogs’ punters.
Brett Morris – $8.50
Kerrod Holland – $10
Josh Morris – $11
Will Hopoate – $14
Brenko Lee – $15
Josh Reynolds – $18
Moses Mbye – $21
Danny Fualalo – $26
Greg Eastwood – $26
Raymond Faitala-Mariner -$26
Josh Jackson – $26
Michael Lichaa – $31
James Graham – $36
David Klemmer – $41
Adam Elliot – $41
Aiden Tolman – $61
Sam Kasiano – $61
Brett Morris has scored three tries from his nine games this season, two less than his brother Josh, but Brett has looked the more enterprising with five line breaks and 36 tackle breaks.
The strong winger is looking to add his name to the try scoring ranks after going scoreless in the win against the Raiders, but there is plenty of money to suggest he could break the shackles at $8.50 with Sportsbet.com.au.
Kerrod Holland has also scored three tries this season and he’s our second elect for this game. The youngster has plenty of talent and has had committed only two errors from his five games which is a great record.
The centre is also the goal kicker and he gets plenty of confidence knocking over the extras. We think he’s a good bet to covert his own try against the Cowboys this Thursday night at $10.
Our smokey pick is Will Hopoate at $14. He has played in only three games this season, but is coming off a strong showing for Samoa on Saturday night and it’s about time he made his mark this season.
North Queensland Cowboys try-scoring tips
The exclusion of Johnathan Thurston will hurt the Cowboys, but the team is still packed full of talent and many try scoring hopes.
Antonio Winterstein – $13
Kyle Feldt – $13
Justin O’Neill – $15
Kane Linnett – $17
Lachlan Coote – $21
Coen Hess – $21
Michael Morgan – $23
Ben Spina – $26
Gavin Cooper – $26
Ethan Lowe – $26
Jason Taumalolo – $31
John Asiata – $31
Ben Hampton – $31
Blake Leary – $31
Patrick Kaufusi – $46
Sam Hoare – $46
Scott Bolton – $61
Coen Hess has been a revelation this season and he’s on the verge of being picked for State of Origin duties.
The hard-working second rower has scored an incredible six tries already this season and bookmakers are still offering big money for Hess to score first.
Hess has powered through his work this season – recording 226 tackles, 853 all-runs and 35 tackle breaks. Those are some outstanding numbers and the $21 at Sportsbet.com.au is worth including.
We think Michael Morgan could be in for a season-defining game. The Cowboys’ five-eighth hasn’t been his usual self this season and his confidence is clearly low, but he needs to step up without Thurston to help and we think this could be his best chance.
Coming off a game where he missed six tackles, look for Morgan to stiffen up his defense and provide much more on attack. He has scored three times already this season and number four could be on the cards.
$4 on offer at CrownBet for Morgan to score at any time.
Bulldogs vs. Cowboys game prediction
We would have favoured the Cowboys had Johnathan Thurston been named, but his exclusion sways us in the camp of the Bulldogs.
The Cowboys’ halves aren’t playing well enough to cope with the loss and the Bulldogs are coming off a tough win against the well-favoured Raiders.
The Cowboys will turn its season around at some point, but we think the bookmakers are right on the money here and punters should be able to cash in.
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