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Cowboys v Eels: Taumalolo on a roll; Eels' Mahoney drama

The undefeated Eels travel north to meet a Cowboys side growing in fluency and confidence as their new combinations jell.

Parramatta piled on the points late against the Titans last round while North Queensland outlasted the Bulldogs on the back of a herculean performance by lock Jason Taumalolo.

Halves Mitchell Moses and Dylan Brown are coming off starring displays for Parramatta and will be looking to outpoint their dangerous counterparts in Michael Morgan and Scott Drinkwater.

The Rundown

Team news

Cowboys: Paul Green has no injury worries heading into the game.

Eels: Parramatta are awaiting scans on Reed Mahoney's ankle but coach Brad Arthur conceded it didn't look good when he was forced off against the Titans. Clint Gutherson moved to hooker on the weekend but it's hard to see him starting there. Rhys Davies and Jaeman Salmon could be other options.

Key match-up

Jason Taumalolo v Nathan Brown. The Cowboys superstar had a record-breaking night out against the Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium on Thursday, tallying 345 running metres. Brown has been in strong form for the Eels to start the season and will be part of the team effort needed to try to contain his opposite number.

Brett Kimmorley says

The Cowboys have shown promise and I think they’ve got some more improvement in them. Getting Josh McGuire back last week was a significant boost, and I think Val Holmes will take a number of weeks to become the player we think he will become. He hasn’t played rugby league since 2018 so we have to be patient, but he showed some good touches last week. Parramatta were extremely rusty in round one and still looked a bit rusty in the first half in round two. They’re expected to be a top four side and they have to handle that pressure. Mitch Moses was very good against the Titans but losing Reed Mahoney presents a potential drama if they can’t fill that position. If you’re a good side then this is where you show you can bring in people and keep winning. Eels by 6

Stat Attack

Taumalolo was already in the elite club of forwards who have been recorded with more than 300 running metres. Former Canterbury prop Steve Price held the previous record with 323m in 2007 while ex-Cronulla captain Paul Gallen (302m in 2017) was the only other forward to notch a triple century apart from Taumalolo's 311-metre effort last year against Manly.

And another thing...

Coen Hess and Jordan McLean are showing signs they are regaining their best form after an up-and-down 2019 for each former representative forward. If they rediscover their mojo, North Queensland's pack will be among the best in the Telstra Premiership.

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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