NRL Preview and Tips - Round 19

LeagueUnlimited's Paul Zines gives us his tips and a full preview of Round 19 of the National Rugby League.

North Queensland Cowboys (16th) V Brisbane Broncos (7th) Friday July 18th, Dairy Farmers Stadium Match Starts - 7.30pm

If the Cowboys are going to avoid their 11th consecutive loss in a row, which would be the worst losing streak in their short history, they will have to do it without Johnathan Thurston who is out for 3-4 weeks with a knee injury. Although he has been named, I would expect Travis Burns to move to halfback and 18th man Matt Bartlett to five-eighth. Brisbane was very ordinary last week as their halves looked rusty and unable to lead their big forwards around the park. I, like many others, chose Brisbane to humiliate the struggling Bulldogs and boy was I wrong. The Broncos got out-enthused and it would be easy for me to pick them again this week by a big margin against a team who has only won two of the last thirteen at Dairy Farmers Stadium between these two sides. There is always room in this world for confidence, but probably not in the NRL which showed in the last round with plenty of upsets. If the Cowboys were going to win this one, they needed Thurston to be available and ready to lead the way. With the captain out, the Cowboys will struggle against a Broncos side, while having a minor hiccup last week, is still looking for a top 4 finish. If they hope to have a home final in front of 50,000 screaming fans, this is a game they must win and in doing so could hand the Cowboys the dreaded Wooden Spoon. I