Cowboys have the Bron­cos in sight

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - CHRIS GARRY

Green named an un­changed line- up from the side which de­feated the Eels in his side’s big­gest win of the sea­son, although cen­tre Justin O’Neill will re­quire scans af­ter tak­ing a knock to his knee.

The 24- year- old was taken off at the 70- minute mark as a pre­cau­tion when North Queens­land were lead­ing by 30 points.

The Cowboys coach said he was split be­tween nam­ing Kyle Feldt or debu­tant Javid Bowen on the North Queens­land wing if O’Neill was deemed not fit to play.

The match will take on spe­cial sig­nif­i­cance, with co­cap­tain Scott ( 200th Cowboys game) and full­back Lach­lan Coote ( 100th NRL game) both play­ing in mile­stone matches. IP­SWICH Jets co- coaches Ben and Shane Walker will ap­ply for the New­cas­tle post in a move that would bring their rad­i­cal tac­ti­cal ap­proach to the struc­tured world of the NRL.

The Walker broth­ers have ex­pressed in­ter­est in the Knights job, adamant they are ready for the NRL af­ter a fiveyear ap­pren­tice­ship in the In­trust Su­per Cup.

The Knights hi­er­ar­chy is hunt­ing a long- term op­tion af­ter the sack­ing of Rick Stone on Mon­day, with for­mer Dragons coach Nathan Brown once again linked with an NRL res­ur­rec­tion in New­cas­tle.

But the Walker duo have emerged as a left- field op­tion af­ter trans­form­ing the em­bat­tled Jets into a pow­er­house in Queens­land’s premier com­pe­ti­tion.

The Walk­ers be­lieve their unique meth­ods are per­fectly suited to New­cas­tle.

“We could bring a re­fresh­ing style to the NRL,” Ben said. THE Cowboys are gun­ning for the mi­nor premier­ship most be­lieve Bris­bane have wrapped up, and North Queens­land’s eas­ier run home could ac­tu­ally see them run big brother over.

The Cowboys are un­beaten since Round 3 with Johnathan Thurston in their team.

They racked up their high­est win­ning mar­gin of the sea­son against Par­ra­matta on Mon­day night, thrash­ing them 46- 4 in Townsville.

That win left the Cowboys just two com­pe­ti­tion points adrift of the Bron­cos, who have amassed 34 points from 15 wins so far this year and are re­garded as heavy favourites to top the ta­ble at sea­son’s end.

How­ever, the Cowboys draw should ac­tu­ally see them fin­ish ahead of Bris­bane.

The Cowboys’ end- of- sea­son run sees them play teams they will be heavy favourites to beat in­clud­ing New Zealand, Cronulla, Can­berra and the Gold Coast Ti­tans.

The Bron­cos’ run home is as tough as it gets. In their last five rounds they face Can­ter­bury, St Ge­orge Illawarra, Syd­ney, South Syd­ney and Mel­bourne.

The is­sue for the Cowboys’ mi­nor premier­ship pur­suit is they are 81 points be­hind Bris­bane in for and against.

They will have to con­tinue thrash­ing teams, as be­ing level on wins with Bris­bane will still see them fin­ish sec­ond.

“Ev­ery­one wants to first,” Thurston said asked about the premier­ship.

“We are get­ting bet­ter each week, and that is what we are fo­cus­ing on.”

The Cowboys now have the ma­jor­ity of their play­ers in form.

Lock Jason Tau­malolo had his best per­for­mance of the sea­son against Par­ra­matta in a two- try star turn.

Tau­malolo re­vealed af­ter the game his knee in­jury is still a con­cern and he may be forced out of New Zealand’s tour of Eng­land in Novem­ber.

Tau­malolo could even need surgery post- sea­son.

“I am hop­ing it will hold up for the rest of the year,” Tau­malolo said.

There are in­jury doubts over North Queens­land cen­tre Justin O’Neill ahead of the Cowboys home game against Can­berra on Satur­day night.

“Justin O’Neill is a bit of an in­jury con­cern with a bang on his knee but he should be OK,” coach Paul Green said.

“He will get a scan but it is only pre­cau­tion­ary.” fin­ish when mi­nor

Pic­ture: AAP

TOUCH­DOWN: Gavin Cooper con­grat­u­lates team­mate Kane Lin­nett on his try dur­ing North Queens­land’s com­pre­hen­sive

vic­tory over Par­ra­matta on Mon­day night.

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