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Magic Round will be partying like 2005 by the time the Wests Tigers and North Queensland Cowboys take to the field in the final game to be played at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday. 

The final match of the special event wraps up round 10 with the Cowboys looking to extend their winning run against a Wests Tigers side that have taken a few steps backwards in recent weeks after putting two wins together.

The joint venture, however, enjoy Magic Round more than their opponents.

They've beaten the Knights and Panthers in the past two concepts and despite the Cowboys well-placed on the ladder, the Tigers have shown they can spring an upset. 

North Queensland have been the surprise packets of the 2022 season, firing on all cylinders with halves Chad Townsend and Tom Dearden enjoy the freedom in attack behind a forward pack that is getting back to its glory days.

The two sides have met on 40 occasions since 1998 with the Cowboys leading the head-to-head battle 23-17.

There were two close encounters between the sides last year with the Tigers winning at Queensland Country Bank Stadium in round 22.

Sportsbet Betting preview: Wests Tigers v Cowboys

The Rundown

Team news

Wests Tigers: Junior Tupou will make his NRL debut on the wing and Tyrone Peachey comes into the centres after Oliver Gildart (calf) and Asu Kepaoa (COVID) were ruled out. Junior Pauga moves from the starting side to the bench on game day with Peachey taking his spot. Luciano Leilua had been named to make a return against his future side. Alex Seyfarth switches back to the bench with Thomas Mikaele (head knock) out. Ken Maumalo will play despite failing a HIA last week.

Cowboys: The Cowboys are 1-17 with no late changes. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow will come off the bench for a third-straight week with the backline firing ahead of the Wests Tigers showdown. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown is 18th man.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Wests Tigers is number 1 Starford To'a
    Fullback for Cowboys is number 1 Scott Drinkwater
  • Winger for Wests Tigers is number 5 Ken Maumalo
    Winger for Cowboys is number 2 Kyle Feldt
  • Centre for Wests Tigers is number 4 Luke Garner
    Centre for Cowboys is number 3 Valentine Holmes
  • Centre for Wests Tigers is number 14 Tyrone Peachey
    Centre for Cowboys is number 4 Peta Hiku
  • Winger for Wests Tigers is number 23 Junior Tupou
    Winger for Cowboys is number 5 Murray Taulagi
  • Five-Eighth for Wests Tigers is number 6 Luke Brooks
    Five-Eighth for Cowboys is number 6 Tom Dearden
  • Halfback for Wests Tigers is number 7 Jackson Hastings
    Halfback for Cowboys is number 7 Chad Townsend

Forwards

  • Prop for Wests Tigers is number 8 James Tamou
    Prop for Cowboys is number 8 Jordan McLean
  • Hooker for Wests Tigers is number 9 Jake Simpkin
    Hooker for Cowboys is number 9 Reece Robson
  • Prop for Wests Tigers is number 10 Zane Musgrove
    Prop for Cowboys is number 10 Reuben Cotter
  • 2nd Row for Wests Tigers is number 11 Kelma Tuilagi
    2nd Row for Cowboys is number 11 Tom Gilbert
  • 2nd Row for Wests Tigers is number 12 Luciano Leilua
    2nd Row for Cowboys is number 12 Jeremiah Nanai
  • Lock for Wests Tigers is number 13 Joe Ofahengaue
    Lock for Cowboys is number 13 Jason Taumalolo

Interchange

  • Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 15 Alex Twal
    Interchange for Cowboys is number 14 Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow
  • Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 16 Alex Seyfarth
    Interchange for Cowboys is number 15 Heilum Luki
  • Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 17 Stefano Utoikamanu
    Interchange for Cowboys is number 16 Coen Hess
  • Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 22 Junior Pauga
    Interchange for Cowboys is number 17 Griffin Neame

Reserves

  • Replacement for Wests Tigers is number 19 Jock Madden
    Replacement for Cowboys is number 18 Jamayne Taunoa-Brown

Match Officials

  • Referee: Gerard Sutton
  • Touch Judge: Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski
  • Touch Judge: Dave Munro
  • Senior Review Official: Chris Butler

Last updated:

Key match-up

Joe Ofahengaue v Jason Taumalolo: International teammates when donning a Tongan jersey, these two pair of locks go head-to-head in a middle battle that will play a major part in the result on Sunday. Taumalolo has found his groove under a new role with Todd Payten this season where his minutes are limited but his impact remains. Ofahengaue is having his best season statistically since 2019 to make the No.13 jersey his own this year. 

Stat attack

The Cowboys have scored 215 points to start the season, ranking them fourth behind the Panthers, Storm and Eels, but it's not through their second phase play. North Queensland have made just 66 offloads at an average of 7.3 per game, ranking them 14th in the competition. The Wests Tigers have made an extra 30 to rank seventh, just a few shy of remarkably Newcastle and Canterbury, proving not all offload work results in points.

Acknowledgement of Country

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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