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Cowboys v Panthers: Neame named to start; late withdrawals for Panthers

Coming off a demoralising defeat at the hands of the Sharks, Todd Payten's men must find a way to regroup and rebound against premiers Penrith.

The Cowboys remain inside the eight with a 4-3 record, but they have the second worst defence in the NRL, with only South Sydney having conceded more points in 2024.

In stark contrast, the Panthers continue to build their success around a well-drilled defence that has conceded just 15 points per game this season 

Even without superstar halfback Nathan Cleary, the Panthers have won two of three games, with Brad Schneider doing a solid job steering the ship on the back of a powerful pack that will look to dominate the middle of the field again in Townsville.

Cleary returns from a hamstring injury this week while fullback Dylan Edwards is also good to go despite hurting his leg against Wests Tigers.

The last time the sides met in Round 27 last year the Panthers were missing Jarome Luai, Scott Sorensen and Mitch Kenny, but still ran away with a 44-12 in a perfect tune up for the finals.

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Team News

Cowboys: Coach Todd Payten has resisted making major changes to this side following last Sunday's heavy defeat the Sharks. Griffin Neame replace Jason Taumalolo as a starting prop, with the latter reverting to the bench. Thomas Mikaele is the new face on the bench for Jack Gosiewski, who was named as 18th man when the teams were finalised 60 minutes before kick-off.

Panthers: Fiji international Sunia Turuva was a late omission just 24 hours after announcing he had signed with Wests Tigers, with Paul Alamoti replacing him on the wing. No other changes after Scott Sorensen (knee) and Moses Leota (shoulder) were ruled out through injury on Friday, which will see Lindsay Smith and Luke Garner promoted to the starting side. Matt Eisenhuth and Mavrik Geyer are the players elevated into the 17. Nathan Cleary returns for his first game since Round 3 after overcoming a hamstring injury, which means Brad Schneider drops back out of the side and he was named as 18th man. Fullback Dylan Edwards will play despite failing to finish the last few minutes of last week’s win over the Wests Tigers, while Taylan May retakes his place at centre after a week off for personal reasons.


Team Lists


  • Fullback for Cowboys is number 1 Scott Drinkwater
    Fullback for Panthers is number 1 Dylan Edwards
  • Winger for Cowboys is number 2 Kyle Feldt
    Winger for Panthers is number 5 Brian To'o
  • Centre for Cowboys is number 3 Valentine Holmes
    Centre for Panthers is number 3 Izack Tago
  • Centre for Cowboys is number 4 Tom Chester
    Centre for Panthers is number 4 Taylan May
  • Winger for Cowboys is number 5 Semi Valemei
    Winger for Panthers is number 19 Paul Alamoti
  • Five-Eighth for Cowboys is number 6 Tom Dearden
    Five-Eighth for Panthers is number 6 Jarome Luai
  • Halfback for Cowboys is number 7 Chad Townsend
    Halfback for Panthers is number 7 Nathan Cleary


  • Prop for Cowboys is number 8 Jordan McLean
    Prop for Panthers is number 10 James Fisher-Harris
  • Hooker for Cowboys is number 9 Reece Robson
    Hooker for Panthers is number 9 Mitch Kenny
  • Prop for Cowboys is number 10 Griffin Neame
    Prop for Panthers is number 15 Lindsay Smith
  • 2nd Row for Cowboys is number 11 Kulikefu Finefeuiaki
    2nd Row for Panthers is number 12 Liam Martin
  • 2nd Row for Cowboys is number 12 Jeremiah Nanai
    2nd Row for Panthers is number 17 Luke Garner
  • Lock for Cowboys is number 13 Reuben Cotter
    Lock for Panthers is number 13 Isaah Yeo


  • Interchange for Cowboys is number 14 Jake Granville
    Interchange for Panthers is number 14 Daine Laurie
  • Interchange for Cowboys is number 15 Jason Taumalolo
    Interchange for Panthers is number 16 Liam Henry
  • Interchange for Cowboys is number 16 Sam McIntyre
    Interchange for Panthers is number 18 Matthew Eisenhuth
  • Interchange for Cowboys is number 17 Thomas Mikaele
    Interchange for Panthers is number 21 Mavrik Geyer


  • Replacement for Cowboys is number 19 Jack Gosiewski
    Replacement for Panthers is number 20 Brad Schneider

Match Officials

  • Referee: Kasey Badger
  • Touch Judge: Nick Morel
  • Senior Review Official: Adam Gee

Last updated:

Stat Attack

  • The Cowboys have conceded 129 points in their past four games.
  • The Panthers have won five of their past seven games against the Cowboys.
  • The Cowboys will play their 50th game at Queensland Country Bank Stadium.
  • Panthers winger Brian To’o will play his 100th NRL game.
  • Cowboys halfback Chad Townsend will make his 250th NRL appearance.

Stats supplied by David Middleton, League Information Services, author of the official annual of the NRL.

Acknowledgement of Country

Penrith Panthers players and staff respect and honour the traditional custodians of the land and pay our respects to their elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.