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Manly find themselves in the top four at the perfect time and one more win will ensure a double chance in the finals, although they may not even need a win depending on how the Roosters and Eels have fared in earlier games.

The way Des Hasler's team has responded from a horror first month has been one of the great storylines of 2021.

But now they're there, they need to cash in on the opportunity.

Given how the Cowboys performed in the second half of their drought-breaking win over the Dragons last weekend, that will be no easy feat.

North Queensland have endured a largely forgettable 2021, but boast a host of young forwards who look set to provide a brighter future.

The rundown

Team news

Cowboys: Coen Hess (biceps) will play, replacing Reuben Cotter (shoulder) in the forward pack.

Ben Hampton was ruled out on Friday with a groin complaint, with Daejarn Asi replacing him in the centres. Lachlan Burr was the other player to drop out in the 24-hour submission. 

Connelly Lemuelu is the 18th man with Tom Gilbert dropping off the extended bench an hour before kick-off.

The Cowboys are aiming for back-to-back wins for the first time since Round 12.

Sea Eagles: Taniela Paseka (ankle) was close to a return last week but was held back and will play on Saturday night.

Paseka will come off the bench, with Josh Aloiai dropping out and Toafofoa Sipley starting at prop.

Sean Keppie got out of 14-day quarantine last week following the birth of his child in Sydney and is expected to come off the bench before the finals.

Moses Suli is the 18th man with Kurt De Luis dropping out of the squad one game day.

The Sea Eagles have won four of their past five games against the Cowboys.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Cowboys is number 1 Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow
    Fullback for Sea Eagles is number 1 Tom Trbojevic
  • Winger for Cowboys is number 2 Kyle Feldt
    Winger for Sea Eagles is number 2 Jason Saab
  • Centre for Cowboys is number 3 Valentine Holmes
    Centre for Sea Eagles is number 3 Brad Parker
  • Centre for Cowboys is number 19 Daejarn Asi
    Centre for Sea Eagles is number 4 Morgan Harper
  • Winger for Cowboys is number 5 Murray Taulagi
    Winger for Sea Eagles is number 5 Reuben Garrick
  • Five-Eighth for Cowboys is number 6 Scott Drinkwater
    Five-Eighth for Sea Eagles is number 6 Kieran Foran
  • Halfback for Cowboys is number 7 Tom Dearden
    Halfback for Sea Eagles is number 7 Daly Cherry-Evans

Forwards

  • Prop for Cowboys is number 8 Coen Hess
    Prop for Sea Eagles is number 10 Martin Taupau
  • Hooker for Cowboys is number 9 Reece Robson
    Hooker for Sea Eagles is number 9 Lachlan Croker
  • Prop for Cowboys is number 10 Jordan McLean
    Prop for Sea Eagles is number 18 Toafofoa Sipley
  • 2nd Row for Cowboys is number 11 Ben Condon
    2nd Row for Sea Eagles is number 11 Haumole Olakau'atu
  • 2nd Row for Cowboys is number 12 Jeremiah Nanai
    2nd Row for Sea Eagles is number 12 Josh Schuster
  • Lock for Cowboys is number 13 Jason Taumalolo
    Lock for Sea Eagles is number 13 Jake Trbojevic

Interchange

  • Interchange for Cowboys is number 14 Jake Granville
    Interchange for Sea Eagles is number 14 Dylan Walker
  • Interchange for Cowboys is number 15 Heilum Luki
    Interchange for Sea Eagles is number 15 Karl Lawton
  • Interchange for Cowboys is number 16 Mitchell Dunn
    Interchange for Sea Eagles is number 16 Sean Keppie
  • Interchange for Cowboys is number 17 Griffin Neame
    Interchange for Sea Eagles is number 17 Taniela Paseka

Reserves

  • Reserve for Cowboys is number 21 Connelly Lemuelu
    Reserve for Sea Eagles is number 19 Moses Suli

Match Officials

  • Referee: Ben Cummins
  • Touch Judge: Matt Noyen
  • Touch Judge: Drew Oultram
  • Senior Review Official: Alan Shortall

Last updated:

Key match-up

Tom Dearden v Daly Cherry-Evans. Dearden will be bolstered by finally having a win under his belt in Cowboys' colours. His tireless work ethic is something that can only inspire those around him. Cherry-Evans, on the other hand, is a wonderful player who has designs on taking his side to a premiership.

Stat attack

Swapping the No.13 jersey for No.8 didn't stop Jason Taumalolo from enjoying a great match against the Dragons in Round 24. In 19 runs he racked up 209 metres, and had two tackle breaks. 

 

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