Holden Cup Qualifying Final Preview: North Queensland Cowboys v St George Illawarra Dragons
The Cowboys and Dragons kick-off the Holden Cup finals series with a mouth-watering showdown between two of the competition's high-flyers.
North Queensland earned bragging rights with a 38-18 win in Round 5, but the Dragons showed how far they've come since then with a 30-all draw seven weeks later.
Watch out Cowboys: The Dragons have plenty of size across the park, and while their forwards will cause plenty of headaches for the North Queensland defence, it's the centre pairing of Patrick Herbert and Izaac Thompson that looms as the biggest threat. Herbert has terrorised teams this season and his numbers certainly back that up. The Dragons skipper has scored 17 tries, broken 146 tackles and produced 26 offloads already this year. If that's not enough, Thompson is big enough to monster most back-rowers. Good luck, Cowboys.
Watch out Dragons: Brandon Smith. Remember the name. No position was more hotly contested than hooker in this year's Holden Cup Team of the Year, and the honour went to the Cowboys No.9 who pipped half-a-dozen other stars in a quality field of dummy-halves. The nuggety No.9 finished the regular season with 16 tries, 18 assists and a whopping 109 tackle breaks. Perhaps the most damaging ball runner in and around the ruck, Smith scored three tries from two games against the Dragons earlier in the year.
Televised: Fox Sports 1 – Live coverage from 5pm.
The way we see it: Cowboys by 6.
Game on. Data off.
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