Thu, Apr 25, 6:20am by Rob Sheeley
Match: North Queensland Cowboys vs Canberra Raiders – NRL Round 7
When/Where: 7:45pm Saturday, 27 April 2013 at 1300SMILES Stadium
On Saturday, the Canberra Raiders head to the warmer Townsville climate to clash with the North Queensland Cowboys. The Cowboys will look to continue resurrecting their season in this match after some average early season form. The Cowboys currently sit in eleventh with just two wins to their credit.
Centrebet.com rates them a $15 chance to win the competition which is unders in comparison to their form.
The Canberra Raiders travel north and will attempt to win their first game on the road for the season. They have won three games this year and are currently ninth on the ladder. But they are yet to claim a scalp outside of Canberra. Despite sitting ahead of the Cowboys they are more than double the odds to win the competition ($31).
The North QLD vs Canberra betting odds below come from Centrebet, our favourite betting site for NRL. Check out the Centrebet website to view updated odds 24/7.
Head to Head
Cowboys – $1.28
Raiders – $3.80
Cowboys 1-12 – $3.00
Cowboys 13+ – $2.15
Raiders 1-12 – $5.25
Raiders 13+ – $10
Cowboys -9.5 – $1.91
Raiders +9.5 – $1.91
• The Cowboys have won 4 of their last 5 matches against the Raiders.
• The sides have met 30 times. The Cowboys have won 12 and the Raiders have won 18.
• The Cowboys have won 8 of their last 10 at 1300SMILES Stadium.
• The Raiders have lost their last 5 at 1300SMILES Stadium.
In good news for the Cowboys, they will have two of their star players back for this match. Matthew Bowen returns after missing their Round 6 match with a knee injury. Dallas Johnson is also back after missing the Round 6 clash due to concussion.
Clint Greenshields and Joel Riethmuller are two to drop out of the squad from Round 6.
1. Matthew Bowen
2. Ashley Graham
3. Brent Tate
4. Kane Linnett
5. Antonio Winterstein
6. Johnathan Thurston (c)
7. Michael Morgan
8. Matthew Scott (c)
9. Rory Kostjasyn
10. James Tamou
11. Tariq Sims
12. Glenn Hall
13. Dallas Johnson
14. Ray Thompson
15. Gavin Cooper
16. Scott Bolton
17. Jason Taumalolo
18. Ashton Sims
After beginning the 2013 season among the premiership favourites, the North Queensland Cowboys have experienced an indifferent start to the year. They have only managed two wins from their six matches to date and it has been difficult to put a handle on their form.
In Round 6 the Cowboys were close to beating one of the competitions form teams, the Broncos. In the end they went down by just two points (12-10). This was enough evidence to show that they can match it with the higher placed teams this season. The question mark hangs mainly over their consistency.
In Round 5 we witnessed what the Cowboys are capable of when they put paid to the Panthers 30-0. That match may have signalled a return to form for the North Queensland club despite their narrow loss last time out.
Before these games the Cowboys suffered a shock two point loss to the previously winless Warriors (20-18). This was preceded by a twenty eight point shellacking at the hands of an under strength Newcastle Knights.
The Cowboys may be slowly forming some combinations and getting their season back on track. This weekend’s match should at least serve as a pointer to where they are in that respect.
The Raiders have lost prop Josh Papali for this week’s game after he had minor knee surgery last week. In another big blow they will also be without David Shillington who is suffering from a rib injury.
This has allowed Jake Foster to play his first game in the top grade in Raiders colours. Rookie Paul Vaughan will make his first grade debut and will start from the bench.
David Furner has also elected to take things slowly with his injury prone superstar, Terry Campese. Campese will start from the bench again for this match, as he did in Round 6.
1. Reece Robinson
2. Sandor Earl
3. Jarrod Croker
4. Jack Wighton
5. Edrick Lee
6. Josh McCrone
7. Sam Williams
8. Tom Learoyd-Lahrs
9. Matt McIlwrick
10. Brett White
11. Joel Edwards
12. Jake Foster
13. Shaun Fensom
14. Terry Campese
15. Joel Thompson
16. Dane Tilse
17. Paul Vaughan
Canberra are fast becoming the Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde act of this seasons NRL. Undefeated at home and winless away, the Raiders have struggled on the road. Their form in Canberra has been superb, including the scalps of the Dragons and Roosters.
In Round 6 they managed to come from behind to overrun the Warriors in the last few minutes of a rugged match and win by four points (20-16). Their coach David Furner will be frustrated at the fact that they are often giving sides a start in their matches.
In Round 5 it was a very similar situation. The Raiders were down and seemingly out against the Roosters before a late flurry of tries got them home. This was a big result for the green machine and the only loss for the Roosters to date.
But the Raiders form away from the nation’s capital makes for disturbing reading; a sixteen point loss to Newcastle in Round 4, a thirty six point loss to the Titans in Round 2 and a twenty two point loss to Penrith in Round 1.
This will be another opportunity for the Canberra team to show they are capable of winning away from home.
Canberra face two major concerns that they will need to fix to be competitive against the Cowboys. The Raiders not only have the worst defensive record in the NRL this season (28.5 points per game) but they are also yet to win away from home.
Travelling to North Queensland is a tough prospect for any team in this competition, let alone one who is struggling on the road. It is a worrying trend that Raiders coach David Furner will be desperate to turn around as soon as possible.
The Raiders have a pack who can match it with any forwards in the NRL, something that they exhibited against the Roosters earlier this year. They will need to be on song against the Cowboys who boast the two Australian prop forwards, fresh off a test victory.
The Cowboys will be boosted greatly by the return of Dallas Johnson in their pack too. Johnson is a perpetual tackling machine who does more work than any other Cowboys forward.
The Raiders will also have their hands full trying to contain the livewire Cowboys fullback Matt Bowen. Bowen will be fresh after a short absence through injury and will wreak havoc if afforded any room to move.
In attack, the Raiders will need some explosive running from Reece Robinson and Jarrod Croker. Both players look as though they can become game winners for the Raiders. Young winger Edrick Lee is also turning heads with his recent performances and his role could be vital here.
The real issue for the Raiders is defence, if they don’t improve greatly in that department, it may be a long evening for them. They face the daunting prospect of Jonathon Thurston at his best on his home turf, a real worry for any team.
Given the Raiders deplorable defensive record in 2013 coupled with their aversion to winning on the road, it is impossible not to tip the Cowboys here. The only question mark is how many they can win by.
If the Raiders aren’t on their game as has been the case in other away games this year, it could get ugly. Be prepared to see Thurston and Bowen run amok.
Cowboys by 16
I think that the Cowboys at the line (-9.5) for a return of $1.91 at www.Centrebet.com looks a good bet.
Ashley Graham looks a chance to score the first try and is currently $9.
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