NRL Premiership 
- Round 05 
- North Queensland Cowboys V St George Illawarra Dragons
- 02 April 2016 
- 1300 Smiles Stadium, Townsville, Qld 
- Scott Davis

The St George Illawarra Dragons will host the North Queensland Cowboys at WIN Stadium, Wollongong on Saturday (7:30pm).

Dragons Head Coach Paul McGregor originally named an 18-man squad for the encounter which included Kurt Mann named on the wing in lieu of Jason Nightingale who shifts to fullback.

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Furthermore, halfback Benji Marshall (hamstring) has been named to partner co-captain Gareth Widdop in the halves whilst Joel Thompson (suspension) also makes his return to partner Jake Marketo in the second-row.

Dragons utility Josh McCrone is additionally part of an extended five-man interchange which also features props Jacob Host, Dunamis Lui and Will Matthews as well as fellow utility Siliva Havili.

Since then, McGregor has been bolstered by the availability of second-rower Tyson Frizell who was released by the NSW Blues for the match.

Dragons fullback Josh Dugan though remains unavailable for this fixture following his respective selection into the NSW Blues State of Origin squad.

The Dragons enter the encounter on the back of a 34-24 loss to the South Sydney Rabbitohs last round despite achieving an 85% completion rate.

St George Illawarra

Position

North Queensland

Jason Nightingale

Fullback

Lachlan Coote

Kalifa Faifai Loa

Winger

Kyle Feldt

Euan Aitken

Centre

Javid Bowen

Tim Lafai

Centre

Kane Linnett

Kurt Mann

Winger

Antonio Winterstein

Gareth Widdop

Five-eighth

Jahrome Hughes

Benji Marshall

Halfback

Ray Thompson

Leeson Ah Mau

Prop

Ben Hannant

Mitch Rein

Hooker

Jake Granville

Russell Packer

Prop

Scott Bolton

Jake Marketo

Second Row

Gavin Cooper

Joel Thompson

Second Row

Ethan Lowe

Mike Cooper

Lock

Jason Taumalolo

 

Interchange

 

Jacob Host

 

Rory Kostjasyn

Dunamis Lui

 

John Asiata

Siliva Havili

 

Coen Hess

Will Matthews

 

Patrick Kaufusi

Josh McCrone

 

 

North Queensland Cowboys

The Cowboys have been red hot over the last two months, winning six of their last seven games, knocking off the likes of the Brisbane Broncos, Parramatta Eels and Penrith Panthers.

With Jonathan Thurston and Michael Morgan being selected for the Queensland Maroons team, Head Coach Paul Green has had to turn to Ray Thompson and Jahrome Hughes to play in the halves.

The Cowboys, when at full strength, are one of the best attacking teams in the competition, averaging a competition high 4.5 tries per game, while making as many line breaks.

 

St George Illawarra Dragons (11th)

North Queensland Cowboys (4th)

Record

5 wins, 6 losses

                  8 wins, 3 losses                

Points

129

15th

298

2nd

Tries

21

15th

50

1st

Line Breaks

24

15th

50

5th

Tackle Busts

297

7th

294

8th

Offloads

109

9th

61

16th

Tackles

3826

4th

3470

11th

Missed Tackles

287

7th

267

12th

Head To Head

Despite a number of big name players being out with respective State of Origin commitments, there are still several great match-ups across the park including Jason Nightingale and Lachlan Coote at fullback.

Both Nightingale and Coote will enter the match as only one of two players with their club (Gareth Widdop and Ethan Lowe) having played every minute so far in 2016.

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While Coote is widely regarded as one of the best fullbacks in the NRL when healthy, Nightingale will be starting his first game in the custodian’s jersey since Round 26, 2013, when he took over the final four rounds after Josh Dugan broke his thumb.

History (Since 1999)

The Dragons have not faired well against the Cowboys in recent years, losing five of their last six fixtures, including a 36-0 north of the state line earlier this season (Round 5).

However, the Dragons have had a lot of success at WIN Stadium over the last couple of years, winning five of their last seven at the venue, including a 14-12 victory over the Penrith Panthers earlier this season (Round 4).

Despite the recent form at WIN Stadium, the Dragons have failed to come out on top against the Cowboys in their last three chances at the venue.

Round

Date

Result

Score

Venue

24

August 20, 2012

Loss

 

St George Illawarra Dragons 22

North Queensland Cowboys 32

WIN Stadium, Wollongong

14

June 14, 2013

Loss

St George Illawarra Dragons 16

North Queensland Cowboys 22

WIN Stadium,

Wollongong

17

July 5, 2014

Win

St George Illawarra Dragons 27

North Queensland Cowboys 24

UOW Jubilee Oval, Kogarah

17

July 4, 2015

Loss

St George Illawarra Dragons 12

North Queensland Cowboys 18

WIN Stadium,

Wollongong

5

April 2, 2016

Loss

St George Illawarra Dragons 0

North Queensland Cowboys 36

1300SMILES Stadium, Townsville

Key Quotes

“I think we just have to focus on ourselves and not worry too much about who is in and out of their squad.” – Leeson Ah Mau

Click Here To See The Full Interview With Leeson Ah Mau!

“The Cowboys biggest strength these past couple of seasons has been the systems that they run and there’s no doubt whoever does come in will slip straight into them.” – Josh McCrone

Click Here To See The Full Interview With Josh McCrone!

“The Cowboys will field a good team whoever lines-up for them as they still have forwards in the likes of Jason Taumalolo and Ben Hannant in the middle,” – Dunamis Lui

Click Here To See The Full Interview With Dunamis Lui!

Match Day Details

Venue: WIN Stadium, Wollongong
Gates Open: 3:00pm
NYC: 3:15pm
NSW Cup: 5:10pm
NRL: 7:30pm

Click Here For Round 12 v North Queensland Cowboys Game Day Information!