Cowboy recovery put to the test - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cowboy recovery put to the test

Steve Jancetic 22/04/2011 03:54:43 PM Comments (0)

The strength of North Queensland's NRL resurrection will face its sternest test on Saturday night - a desperate Cronulla at the generally uninviting Toyota Stadium.

The Cowboys have taken just six weeks to match their win total from 2010, a stunning turnaround aided by a healthy dose of home cooking with four of their first six games at Dairy Farmers Stadium.

It's left Neil Henry's men sitting just one win below the top three, but for the Cowboys to be genuine top eight contenders they need to start winning on the road, something they have managed to do only five times over the past two seasons.

Saturday night kick-starts a tough seven-week stretch in which they have to travel to Kogarah to face premiers St George Illawarra, the usually chilly Canberra and 'Fortress Brookie' to take on Manly.

But few road trips are tougher than the one to Toyota Stadium - where the conditions and a bruising pack can make for an uncomfortable night.

"Beautiful Toyota Park on a Saturday night - I don't think I've ever had a dry match there," Cowboys prop Ashton Sims said.

"That's the conditions we have to play in - that's why it's such a big test, not just because they're a good footy side, it's because of the conditions as well.

"We're up here in a really hot, humid area and we're going down to a freezing cold, wet Saturday night.

"We've talked about that, we've identified it, but I think we'll all be up for it."

"This is a big test for us, we had a great week at training, our last session (Friday) morning was really sharp.

"We're going down there with a bit of confidence, but we know it's going to be a fair task against the Sharks."

While Sims produced his best game in a Cowboys jumper in last week's win over Canberra, he's been overshadowed somewhat by the emergence of brother Tariq, last year's Toyota Cup player of the year.

The pair have formed a solid partnership coming off the bench for Henry, Ashton's concerns that he may have had to look after little brother quickly allayed.

"In the trials it was the first time I ever played with him and I thought I might have to take the big brother role and look after him, but he was putting shots on, he can definitely hold his own," Ashton said.

"He had a great year last year and he's always been really big and he's just using his size really well this year."

The Sims brothers won't get it any tougher than against a Sharks pack still reeling from last week's tight loss to Newcastle, their third on the trot.

Despite the losing streak coach Shane Flanagan has resisted the temptation to tamper with his squad, which amazingly has been the most settled in the NRL in 2011.

To date Flanagan has used just 19 players, with Ben Pomeroy coming in for Dean Collis after the round one loss to Canberra and Stuart Flanagan deputising for Paul Aiton and John Morris when they were suspended and injured respectively.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2024 AAP

0 Comments about this article

Post a comment about this article

Please sign in to leave a comment.
Becoming a member is free and easy, sign up here.

« All sports news