Hostplus Match Preview: Round 16
The Panthers travel to Townsville on Saturday to take on the Cowboys looking to leapfrog the North Queensland outfit on the NRL ladder and solidify their spot in the top eight.
Anthony Griffin has been afforded the rare luxury of naming an unchanged line-up to the side that scored an astonishing come-from-behind 24-20 win over Canberra a fortnight ago. Boom youngster Dylan Edwards continues in his role at fullback as captain Matt Moylan flourishes in his new halves role.
For the hosts, Paul Green faces the possibility of being without champion halfback Johnathan Thurston after he aggravated a shoulder injury during Wednesday night’s State of Origin clash. His potential withdrawal opens the door for Te Maire Martin to make his Cowboys debut against his former side, or for incumbent Kyle Laybutt to retain his spot after a promising debut last start against the Storm.
The Cowboys will also have fellow representatives Gavin Cooper, Coen Hess and Michael Morgan backing up after their involvement in Origin, while Ben Spina is out after sustaining a season-ending bicep injury last week.
The Panthers come in to Saturday off the back of four consecutive wins to sit just inside the top eight on the ladder. The latest triumph came courtesy of another stirring comeback – this time inspired by two minutes of magic from Moylan.
Trailing by eight points in the 78th minute, Moylan ripped apart the Raiders defence to put Corey Harawira-Naera through a gap and cut the deficit to two. With seconds remaining on the clock, he would carry his side up field before offloading to Tyrone Peachey to seal a magical 24-20 win in front of a raucous country crowd in Bathurst.