Big clash fore­cast for cur­tain- raiser

Townsville Bulletin - - NRL - by Michael Thompson michael. thompson@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

IF some Cow­boys fans thought only one Storm was blow­ing into Townsville to­day, they should think again.

Mel­bourne’s Toy­ota Cup team, like their first-grade coun­ter­parts, has earned a rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing in sizzling-hot form.

The Storm’s wins against Manly ( 40-12) and Gold Coast ( 44-10) over the first two rounds has Cow­boys un­der-20s coach Kris­tian Woolf on guard for a mas­sive clash at Dairy Farm­ers Sta­dium this af­ter­noon.

‘‘ I’d say they’re prob­a­bly the form team of the competition af­ter the first two rounds,’’ Woolf said.

‘‘ They play very fast and they wres­tle on the ground well, just the same as their first-grade side.

‘‘ They come out with a real in­ten­sity and things like their line speed and de­fence are real fea­tures, so we re­ally need to be on our game to beat them that’s for sure.’’

The Cow­boys coach­ing staff are yet to make a fi­nal de­ci­sion on the avail­abil­ity o f in­ter change for­ward Chris Grevs­muhl and winger Kyle Feldt af­ter both were put through fit­ness tests yes­ter­day.

Grevs­muhl missed last week­end’s game with New­cas­tle while Feldt, the first-choice goal­kicker, sus­tained a slight ham­string strain in the 24-20 home win.

‘‘ In­di­ca­tions are both will be fine but we’ll make a de­ci­sion in the morn­ing,’’ Woolf said.

The slen­der ques­tion marks over the avail­abil­ity of Grevs­muhl and Feldt aside, Woolf was con­fi­dent the team could over­come any chal­lenges thrown their way.

Pro­vided they’re work­ing on all cylin­ders of course.

‘‘ We’ve got a good enough side that if we show up we’re go­ing to be com­pet­i­tive with any­body,’’ Woolf said.

‘‘ We haven’t played our best footy over the first two rounds, ob­vi­ously we want to keep im­prov­ing and get closer to that.’’

Woolf said the turn­around in per­for­mance from the 46-24 loss to the Bron­cos in round one to the de­served vic­tory over New­cas­tle was proof no alarm bells were ring­ing in the North Queens­land camp de­spite the less than spec­tac­u­lar start to the year.

‘‘ The Knights game was an im­prove­ment on the week be­fore, both in our at­tack and our de­fence,’’ Woolf said.

‘‘ I was re­ally happy with the attitude we showed, even in the last 10 min­utes where we didn’t play real smart in the sense of turn­ing over the footy.

‘‘ We cer­tainly showed we had some de­sire to de­fend our line and keep the Knights out.’’

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