2018 NRL season preview: North Queensland Cowboys

After a year where the North Queensland Cowboys defied the odds without Johnathan Thurston and Matthew Scott, their two co-captains, to make the grand final in 2017, Paul Green’s team will be looking to make their third grand final in the last four years, looking to claim their second premiership! However, will they win the premiership in Thurston’s final year?

Roster

Antonio Winterstein
Ben Hampton
Carlin Anderson
Enari Tuala
Gideon Gela-Mosby
Jake Clifford
Javid Bowen
Johnathan Thurston
Justin O’Neill
Kane Linnett
Kyle Feldt
Kyle Laybutt
Lachlan Coote
Michael Morgan
Shaun Hudson
Te Maire Martin
Coen Hess
Corey Jensen
Emry Pere
Ethan Lowe
Francis Molo
Gavin Cooper
Jake Granville
Jason Taumalolo
John Asiata
Jordan McLean
Josh Chudleigh
Matthew Scott
Mitchell Dunn
Sam Hoare
Scott Bolton
Shane Wright
Shaun Fensom

Coach

Paul Green

 

My 2018 Starting 17 Line-Up (Predicted)

1. Lachlan Coote
2. Kyle Feldt
3. Justin O’Neill
4. Kane Linnett
5. Antonio Winterstein
6. Michael Morgan
7. Johnathan Thurston
8. Matthew Scott
9. Jake Granville
10. Jordan McLean
11. Gavin Cooper
12. Ethan Lowe
13. Jason Taumalolo
14. Coen Hess
15. Scott Bolton
16. John Asiata
17. Shaun Fensom

Reserves

Outside Backs
Enari Tuala
Gideon Gela-Mosby
Javid Bowen

Spine
Ben Hampton
Carlin Anderson
Jake Clifford
Kyle Laybutt
Shaun Hudson
Te Maire Martin
Josh Chudleigh

Power Forwards
Corey Jensen
Francis Molo
Sam Hoare

Small Forwards
Emry Pere
Mitchell Dunn
Shane Wright

 

Ryan Eckford’s prediction (5th)

The North Queensland Cowboys are looking to make their third grand final in the last four years, and have once again put together a very strong squad, recruiting Jordan McLean from the Melbourne Storm, and seeing the returns of Matthew Scott (knee) and Johnathan Thurston (shoulder) from serious injuries.

Thurston only played seven matches for the Cowboys in 2017, which is equal lowest amount of matches he has played in a season in his NRL career, and the first time he has played less than 17 matches in a season since joining the Cowboys in 2005, while Scott only played two matches in 2017 after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament against the Brisbane Broncos in Round Two at Suncorp Stadium.

Overall, every single part of Paul Green’s squad is strong with only the depth of the squad maybe being a question mark for a club that has made the finals for the last seven years, which is the equal-longest active streak (Storm) in the NRL. If they were to make the finals for an eighth-straight season, it will be the most consecutive finals appearances for a club based in a regional Australian city in NRL history, surpassing the Newcastle Knights seven-straight finals appearances from 1997 to 2003.

As long as they don’t suffer a massive injury toll, they will be a premiership contender in Thurston’s final year!

 

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