Friday’s only NRL Round 11 match is between Nth Queensland Cowboys and Brisbane Broncos. The opening bounce is set to commence at 20:00 local time with the game to be played at 1300SMILES Stadium. The away team Brisbane Broncos are the favourites for the match. View our preview and teams for the game between Nth Queensland Cowboys and Brisbane Broncos.
When: 20:00 | Friday 20/05/2016
Where: 1300SMILES Stadium
Tip: Brisbane Broncos at $2.10
Value Tip: First Tryscorer: Jack Reed at $18.00
Cowboys: 1 Lachlan Coote 2 Kyle Feldt 3 Justin O’Neill 4 Kane Linnett 5 Antonio Winterstein 6 Michael Morgan 7 Johnathan Thurston 8 Matt Scott 9 Jake Granville 10 James Tamou 11 Gavin Cooper 12 Lowe 13 Jason Taumalolo Interchange: 14 Rory Kostjasyn 15 Patrick Kaufusi 16 Scott Bolton 17 Ben Hannant.
Broncos: 1 Darius Boyd 2 Corey Ooates 3 Jack Reed 4 James Roberts 5 Jordan Kahu 6 Anthony Milford 7 Ben Hunt 8 Josh McGguire 9 Andrew McCullough 10 Adam Blair 11 Alex Glenn 12 Matthew Gillett 13 Corey Parker Interchange: 14 Jarrod Wallace 15 Sam Thaiday 16 Joseph Ofahengaue 17 Kodi Nikorima.
Now for Andrew McCullough’s next trick – stopping North Queensland livewire hooker Jake Granville.
McCullough has astonished teammates by returning three weeks early from a hamstring tear to ensure a full strength Brisbane will line up against North Queensland in Friday night’s NRL grand final re-match.
Brisbane are now hoping rake McCullough can provide a defensive plug on Granville’s darting dummy half runs that are again expected to spark the defending champions in Townsville.
Brisbane prop Josh McGuire identified Granville as the man to watch ahead of the sold out derby after learning about the former Broncos bench rake’s explosive speed off the mark the hard way.
“He was burning us here all those years,” McGuire said of Granville who played 10 NRL games for the Broncos from 2013-14.
“I know how good he is. We will make sure our ruck work is clean and tight, hopefully he doesn’t hurt us too much.”
Asked how Granville could be stopped, McGuire said: “Macca (McCullough) brings that stability in defence, a great communicator.
“We did miss him the last couple of weeks.
“It’s good to see the little fella running around again.
“I know I feel a lot safer when he is next to me in the line.”
McCullough was told he would be sidelined for at least six weeks after tearing his hamstring off the bone 26 days ago in their round eight win over South Sydney.
But the rake trained strongly on Tuesday and was later named in the starting side against the Cowboys after missing just two games.
“He doesn’t get as many raps as he should but everyone here knows how valuable he is,” backrower Matt Gillett said of McCullough’s impact.
“He did everything right to get back, which goes to show his professionalism.”
The Broncos are back to full strength with McCullough and forwards Alex Glenn (calf) and Adam Blair (suspension) returning for the Cowboys clash.
Kiwi backrower Glenn is also a surprise selection after tearing his calf a fortnight ago, keeping him out of the trans-Tasman Test.
Meanwhile, Brisbane have played down the absence of Queensland Origin hopeful Corey Oates at training on Tuesday, saying the winger missed the session due to personal reasons.
They dismissed injury fears, saying the winger is on track to go head-to-head with Cowboys flyer Kyle Feldt for a Maroons berth.
Brisbane surged to top of the ladder without McCullough, Glenn and Blair with a 30-6 win over Manly last round.
*Odds correct at time of posting. Subject to change