Sydney Roosters Vs North Queensland Cowboys: NRL Round 23 Preview

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Eastern Suburbs boys shoot for 5th win of season against top 4 hopefuls

Roosters and North Queensland Cowboys do battle in Sunday afternoon football in what is shaping up to be an extremely important game for the Cowboys.

After last week’s uncharacteristic poor performance against the Wests Tigers, they slipped out of the top 4. The reigning premiers were off their game badly last week and a much improved effort will be needed against an inconsistent Roosters side that welcomes back Mitchell Pearce. Another loss for Paul Green’s men could spell the end of their top 4 aspirations and rugby league fans know how important that double chance is when it comes to finals football. The Roosters came crashing back down to earth last Monday night after a solid win against Brisbane a week earlier. Missed tackles, poor line defence, lack of enthusiasm led to a discouraging 38-18 defeat against Penrith. It has been a tough year for this fairly inexperienced side and plenty of lessons have been learned. The development of Latrell Mitchell and Connor Watson has been a real bright spot for the tri colours, two players that look like they’ll contribute in years to come. With no chance of finals football, they are merely playing for pride and would love to throw a spanner in the works for the finals with an upset over the Cowboys I’m front of their faithful fans. Last Meeting: North Queensland Cowboys 40 Defeated Sydney Roosters 0 at 1300Smiles Stadium, Round 3, 2016. The Cowboys fan riot in a lopsided affair earlier this year. The Roosters did win the previous 3 out of 4 clashes before that game however. Including an epic 31-30 semi final win in 2014 at Allianz Stadium. One thing going in the favour of the Roosters is North Queensland’s dreadful record at Allianz Stadium which has seen them lose 14 games of 20 played there. Who To Watch: The Roosters have been buoyed of late by some positive performances of centre Dale Copley. He has transitioned into the tri colours backline very nicely over the last month. He doesn’t have overly massive size but does have quite an evasive running style and can be awkward to tackle. Focus on him to create some space out wide on the edges and display some of his silly passing for some of his team mates. For the Cowboys they need to hit back through talented centre Kane Linnett. Linnett is one of the most under rated players in the NRL and continues to go about his work without many accolades. He is an accomplished defender and is extremely strong in tackles and has an uncanny knack to offload he football and create room. Keep a close eye on him exploding onto the ball and attempting to break open the defensive line of the Roosters line. The Favourite: The Cowboys are firmed as favourites in this clash. My Tip: After last week’s surprise loss, look for the Cowboys to bounce back with a vengeance this match. The Roosters forward pack needs to stay with their North Queensland counterparts for the first 30 minutes to give their side a chance of victory on Sunday.

Cowboys by 14.

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