Cowboys out to destroy Raiders impressive home record this NRL season.
If the Canberra Raiders are to maintain their excellent record at home this NRL season they will need to overcome a disrupted preparation as they host the North Queensland Cowboys.
While they close to unbeatable at home the Raiders continue to have a shocking record on the road and they will be looking to bounce back from being outplay by South Sydney 32-2 last round.
But to do that they will need to put several injury worries in the back of their minds.
Sandor Earl (dislocated elbow, round 24) is out, with Jack Wighton shifting to the wing and Joel Thompson moving to centre.
Shaun Berrigan, Jake Foster and Dimitri Pelo have been added to an extended bench, with Jack Wighton (groin) and Dane Tilse (knee) carrying injuries.
After looking like they were going to make a push into the top eight, Canberra has lost its last two games, with two competition points vital this weekend so they don’t lose touch with the all-important finals cutoff.
Changes for North Queensland include Ricky Thorby returning to the 17 in place of Ashton Sims (suspension, round 20), with Jason Taumalolo added as 18th man.
Clint Greenshields retains his fullback spot, giving fans hope he will play the all-important round 18 (although Matt Bowen is nearing return).
Johnathan Thurston will again be crucial for his side as they look to build on two impressive wins in as many week, by six over the Dragons and 20 over the Sharks.
Tip: Canberra by 2
CANBERRA RAIDERS v NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS at Canberra Stadium
RAIDERS: Reece Robinson, Jack Wighton, Jarrod Croker, Joel Thompson, Sami Sauiluma, Terry Campese (capt), Josh McCrone, David Shillington, Glen Buttriss, Dane Tilse, Josh Papalii, Joel Edwards, Shaun Fensom. Interchange: Anthony Milford, Jarrad Kennedy, Sam Mataora, Paul Vaughan, Shaun Berrigan, Jake Foster, Dimitri Pelo (three to be omitted).
Ins: Jarrad Kennedy, Shaun Berrigan, Jake Foster, Dimitri Pelo
Outs: Sandor Earl (dislocated elbow, round 24)
Others unavailable: Brett White (fractured eye socket, round 19), Blake Ferguson (suspension, indefinite), Tom Learoyd-Lahrs (foot, indefinite), Edrick Lee (broken arm, round 24), Mark Nicholls (broken arm, season), Joe Picker (elbow, round 23)
COWBOYS: Clint Greenshields, Ashley Graham, Brent Tate, Kane Linnett, Antonio Winterstein, Johnathan Thurston (capt), Robert Lui, Matthew Scott (capt), Ray Thompson, James Tamou, Tariq Sims, Glenn Hall, Dallas Johnson. Interchange: Rory Kostjasyn, Gavin Cooper, Scott Bolton, Ricky Thorby, Jason Taumalolo (one to be omitted).
Ins: Ricky Thorby, Jason Taumalolo
Outs: Ashton Sims (suspension, round 20)
Others unavailable: Matt Bowen (knee, round 18)
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