Wests Tigers kept their slim finals hopes alive by disposing of Canterbury and they are confronted this weekend by another team they will be expected to beat in the Cowboys.
Todd Payten's men have lost all form and confidence, falling to eight losses on the trot, and all that remains for them in 2021 is to try and salvage some pride in the final month.
The Tigers sit two wins outside the top eight but have a reasonable run home with games against the Sharks, Panthers and Bulldogs to come after this weekend.
If they are to be any hope of ending a nine-year finals drought, Michael Maguire's side will need to win all four of their remaining games and hope other results fall their way.
Match: Cowboys v Wests Tigers
Round 22 -
Venue: Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Townsville
Cowboys: Mitchell Dunn starts at lock with Coen Hess going to the bench.
Daejarn Asi will partner Jake Granville in the centres with Connelly Lemuelu dropped due to mixed form.
Reuben Cotter (foot) is still another week or two away while speedster Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow is expected to miss three more games as he recovers from appendix surgery.
Connelly Lemuelu is the 18th man with Shane Wright dropping out of the game-day squad an hour before kick-off. Peter Hola and Laitia Moceidreke were the two players left out 24 hours before the match.
The Cowboys are aiming for two wins in a season against the Wests Tigers for the first time since 2003.
Wests Tigers: James Tamou is out of the Wests Tigers team with Thomas Mikaele moving to prop and Alex Twal to lock.
Jake Simpkin and Tukimihia Simpkins join the bench. James Roberts is the 18th man with Zac Cini dropping out of the side on game day.
Tamou and Jock Madden were the two players omitted on the eve of the match.
Wests Tigers will play at Queensland Country Bank Stadium for the first time.
Fullback for Cowboys is number 1 Valentine HolmesFullback for Wests Tigers is number 1 Moses Mbye
Winger for Cowboys is number 2 Kyle FeldtWinger for Wests Tigers is number 2 David Nofoaluma
Centre for Cowboys is number 3 Daejarn AsiCentre for Wests Tigers is number 3 Tommy Talau
Centre for Cowboys is number 4 Jake GranvilleCentre for Wests Tigers is number 4 Michael Chee Kam
Winger for Cowboys is number 5 Ben HamptonWinger for Wests Tigers is number 5 Ken Maumalo
Five-Eighth for Cowboys is number 6 Scott DrinkwaterFive-Eighth for Wests Tigers is number 6 Adam Doueihi
Halfback for Cowboys is number 7 Tom DeardenHalfback for Wests Tigers is number 7 Luke Brooks
Prop for Cowboys is number 8 Francis MoloProp for Wests Tigers is number 8 Stefano Utoikamanu
Hooker for Cowboys is number 9 Reece RobsonHooker for Wests Tigers is number 9 Jacob Liddle
Prop for Cowboys is number 10 Jordan McLeanProp for Wests Tigers is number 13 Thomas Mikaele
2nd Row for Cowboys is number 11 Ben Condon2nd Row for Wests Tigers is number 11 Shawn Blore
2nd Row for Cowboys is number 12 Heilum Luki2nd Row for Wests Tigers is number 12 Luciano Leilua
Lock for Cowboys is number 16 Mitchell DunnLock for Wests Tigers is number 16 Alex Twal
Interchange for Cowboys is number 13 Coen HessInterchange for Wests Tigers is number 14 Joe Ofahengaue
Interchange for Cowboys is number 14 Tom GilbertInterchange for Wests Tigers is number 15 Kelma Tuilagi
Interchange for Cowboys is number 15 Jeremiah NanaiInterchange for Wests Tigers is number 18 Jake Simpkin
Interchange for Cowboys is number 17 Griffin NeameInterchange for Wests Tigers is number 19 Tukimihia Simpkins
Reserve for Cowboys is number 19 Connelly LemueluReserve for Wests Tigers is number 17 Zac Cini
- Referee: Chris Sutton
- Touch Judge: Wyatt Raymond
- Touch Judge: Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski
- Senior Review Official: Henry Perenara
Scott Drinkwater v Adam Doueihi: Two powerful five-eighths who love to take on the line and have the potential to create a try-scoring opportunity out of nothing. Doueihi has made nine line breaks in 18 games while Drinkwater has chalked up 33 tackle breaks. Both men have 16 try assists for the season to sit inside the top 10 in that category.
Since these two sides met in the 2005 grand final and Benji Marshall etched his name in grand final folklore with that flick pass, the Cowboys have been to the finals on eight occasions and won their maiden premiership in 2016. The Tigers, meanwhile, have been part of the September action only twice (2010 and 2011) since that memorable night, and have finished ninth on the ladder five times.
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