The Cowboys will put an end to the Warriors finals ambitions here.
Many thought that losing Johnathan Thurston to a season-ending shoulder injury would have meant curtains for North Queensland, however, they are rumbling along without hardly missing a beat.
They go into this match off the back of a hat-trick of wins which is the first time that’s happened without Thurston in the side. Last week they made easy work of the Rabbitohs in Carins, 23-10.
New Zealand are once again staring down the barrel of another ‘what if’ season and with 18 points through 17 rounds, really need to go through the rest of the regular rounds perfectly to guarantee themselves a semi-final spot.
Last week they blew a big chance at home where they fell 34-22 after leading in the second half of the game.
Are NORTH QUEENSLAND still capable of making a play for the NRL title?
You would think it will be too hard without Thurston, however, with five wins from their past six matches you wouldn’t totally rule it out.
One of the big reasons for their success has been their defence and performances on the road.
In defence they have conceded just 15.2ppg during their five most recent wins while three of those have been away from home. Travelling has always been the chink in the armour for the Cowboys but this year they are 6-3 on the road.
We think the $17 @ Luxbet for them to win the Grand Final is worth having a few dollars on.
The Kiwis have been dealt a blow with Shaun Johnson more than likely out of action for the remainder of the year.
That means that all the pressure that NEW ZEALAND will generate will now come from Kieran Foran. In bad news for the visitors, their strike rate without Johnson is a poor 39.1 percent.
Add that to the fact they have won just once at 1300Smiles Stadium since 2003 and things look ominous here for NEW ZEALAND.
NORTH QUEENSLAND has dominated this contest in the past few years.
The Cowboys have won three straight against the Warriors and four of the past six while their record against their opponents at 1300Smiles Stadium is almost perfect over the past 17 years.
The Warriors have just the one win in Townsville for 14 years and that was back in 2014. In fact, they have just three wins at the ground in total since 2000.
Margin players will be interested to note that the Cowboys have belted the Kiwis the past two times they have played them. Having played them in Round 24 on each occasion in the past two seasons, the margin has been an average of 31 points.
Could we see a repeat here? Punters can get a juicy $6 @ Sportsbet for it happen again!
The Cowboys are one of our better bets for the weekend.
We suggest jumping on the $1.33 with Luxbet because it would have to be a monumental turnaround from the Warriors to see them upset the Cowboys on their home turf.
It’s definitely not out of the question but it will require a team effort and there hasn’t been too many times this season that has happened for Stephen Kearney’s side.
There is some value in tryscorer markets with Kyle Feldt who has been on fire in the past two months. The Cowboys winger has seven tries in his past eight matches. Nathan Cleary scored a hat-trick against the Warriors last week and Feldt is paying $23 @ Sportsbet to do the same on Saturday night.
NORTH QUEENSLAND 30+ WINNING MARGIN