NRL Live North Queensland Cowboys vs Melbourne Storm Stream National Rugby League Round 04 match will be kick off at 1300 Smiles Stadium, Townsville, QLD, Australia MOnday 30 March 2015 online, 19.00 pm (AEDT) and its broadcast on Channel Nine, Fox Sports, FOX Sports 2 & FOX Soccer Plus,Premier Sports.
The North Queensland Cowboys have been the big disappointments to date this year, winless after three rounds, but get the chance to atone on Monday against a very good Melbourne side. The Storm have won two of three but need to show they can do it on the road.
Paul Green has wielded the axe, dumping wingers Justin O’Neill and Kyle Feldt for Matt Wright and Antonio Winterstein. The latter could still be a week away though. Melbourne are unchanged.
Melbourne have a 19-8 all-time advantage over North Queensland and have won 10 of the last 13 though the last six have been split evenly. The Cowboys won 22-0 in Townsville last year but Melbourne won 32-10 the year prior at the ground. Six of the last seven between the two in Townsville have not reached 42 points. Cowboys hooker Rory Kostjasyn is a former Melbourne player.
North Queensland have been embarrassingly bad this year with three losses to open the season. After losing 28-4 at home to the Roosters they were surprised by Newcastle in Townsville before they were right royally spanked by the Broncos last Friday. The Cowboys’ attack has been horrendous with just six line breaks and seven tries while they have conceded an NRL-worst 16 tries and 17 line breaks. Melbourne have recorded a road win against the Dragons and a home victory against the Sharks but were beaten in a close one against Manly at Brookvale. As always the Storm’s success has been based on minimising errors and a solid kick return.
The two best halves in the game are Johnathan Thurston and Cooper Cronk and their legacy will loom large over this match. Thurston has really struggled this year with just two assists in three games and a worrying decline in his running game while his 18 missed tackles are the worst in the NRL. He needs to shape up if the Cowboys are to avoid their slump. Cronk has just one assist himself but his kicking game has been superb and he has looked dangerous running the ball. If he can get on top of Thurston the Storm will be halfway to victory.
North Queensland are 19-8 (17-10 ATS) over the last three seasons at home with an average winning margin of 10.8 points. They are 3-2 straight and ATS when a small home favourite. Over the last five seasons home teams off three straight losses are 59-65 ATS but the Cowboys are 4-1 with a 3-2 ATS number. The Storm are a poor 12-14 straight and ATS on the road over the last three years with just six covers in their last 15. As a small outsider though Melbourne are 6-2 straight and ATS. Teams who conceded 40 points the week prior are 35-23 ATS.
This is it for North Queensland and faced with such a dire situation they are expected to step up. They have been much better than they have shown the last few weeks and the embarrassment of the Broncos loss might be enough to shock them into gear. The Storm aren’t great travellers and have found Townsville hard to win at recently. Melbourne are a class outfit but they don’t have the desperation North Queensland have this week. Cowboys nicely.
North Queensland Cowboys: 1 Lachlan Coote 2 Matthew Wright 3 Tautau Moga 4 Kane Linnett 5 Antonio Winterstein 6 Michael Morgan 7 Johnathan Thurston 8 Matthew Scott 9 Rory Kostjasyn 10 James Tamou 11 Gavin Cooper 12 Ethan Lowe 13 Jason Taumalolo.
Interchange: 14 Jake Granville 15 Kelepi Tanginoa 16 Scott Bolton 17 Ben Hannant 18 John Asiata.
Melbourne Storm: 1. Billy Slater 2. Young Tonumaipea 3. William Chambers 4. Kurt Mann 5. Marika Koroibete 6. Blake Green 7. Cooper Cronk 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Cameron Smith (c)10. Jordan McLean 11. Kevin Proctor 12. Tohu Harris 13. Dale Finucane
Interchange: 14. Ryan Hinchcliffe 15. Tim Glasby 16. Dayne Weston 17. Felise Kaufusi 18. Tom Learoyd-Lahrs 19. Hymel Hunt