Sharks Townsville-bound for high stakes epic to open round

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Cronulla are coming off a 36-6 thumping over the Titans in Shire which earnt them a much-needed second-consecutive win as they continue jostling for top eight positioning.

The Cowboys, meanwhile, are fresh off a bye after a disappointing 16-point Round 23 loss to the Broncos.

Tom Hazelton returns from a head knock onto the interchange for the Sharks at the expense of Jesse Colquhoun in the only change to the 17 that took down the Titans.

Jeremiah Nanai returns into the second row for the Cowboys after recovering from a shoulder injury that has kept him sidelined for close to a month.

Coen Hess reverts to the interchange with Jamayne Taunoa-Brown listed among the reserves.


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Kyle Feldt has been named on the wing with Maroons star Murray Taulagi in the centres to cover the absence of Valentine Holmes who is still serving a suspension for a high shot that will keep him out for the remainder of the regular season.

Co-captain Jason Taumalolo is set to become the fourth player in Cowboys history to play 250 NRL games for the club joining Johnathan Thurston, Matt Scott, and Matt Bowen.

The Paul Green Medal will be awarded to the player chosen by the winning coach as Player of the Match.

The sides last met earlier this year at PointsBet Stadium with the Sharks coming away with a dominant 44-6 victory in front of their home fans.

The loss saw North Queensland slump to second-last on the competition ladder before going on to win eight of their next 10 and storm towards a potential playoffs berth.


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The two sides famously clashed in a golden point thriller in the opening week of last year’s finals series in the Shire with a 92nd-minute Holmes field goal proving the difference.

It was the only time that the Cowboys have beaten the Sharks from their past 10 meetings.

The Sharks have won all three of their matchups against the Cowboys at QLD Country Bank Stadium and have beaten them in 13 of their past 16 matchups.

Craig Fitzgibbon’s men are now sitting at fifth on the competition ladder with three matches remaining.

The Storm are a pair of competition points ahead of them whilst they are tied with the Raiders, a single point ahead of the Knights, and two points ahead of the Rabbitohs and Cowboys.

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Following Thursday night’s clash agains the Cowboys, they finish their season with face-offs against the Knights and Raiders in what shapes as a decisive period.

The Cowboys are currently sitting ninth on the competition ladder but trail the eighth-place Rabbitohs only on for-and-against.

They will hit the road for their final fortnight of action taking on the Dolphins in Brisbane and the Panthers in Penrith.

North Queensland enter the clash as favourites with bookmakers anticipating Todd Payten’s men to defend their home turf and continue to shake up the top eight picture.


Game & Team Details

Kick-off: Thursday 17 August (7:50pm), QLD Country Bank Stadium

Sharks squad: 1. Tracey; 2. Katoa; 3. Ramien; 4. Talakai; 5. Mulitalo; 6. Trindall; 7. Hynes; 8. Rudolf; 9. Brailey; 10. Hamlin-Uele; 11. Nikora; 12. Graham (c); 13. McInnes; 14. Williams; 15. Hunt; 16. Hazelton; 17. Moylan; 18. Hiroti; 19. Hau Tapuha; 20. Colquhoun; 21. Iro; 22. Berrell

Cowboys squad: 1. Drinkwater; 2. Feldt; 3. Taulagi; 4. Hiku; 5. Valemei; 6. Dearden; 7. Townsend; 8. McLean; 9. Robson; 10. Taumalolo; 11. Leilua; 12. Nanai; 13. Cotter; 14. Granville; 15. Hess; 16. Luki; 17. Neame; 18. Taunoa-Brown; 19. Laybutt; 20. Finefeuiaki; 21. Derby; 22. Tamou


 

Cameron Laing
Owner | Local Supporter
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