Round 8: Cowboys v Titans preview
Two underperforming Queensland clubs look to bounce back from disappointing defeats
Many were anticipating a resurgence from Paul Green's Cowboys in 2019. But things quickly went downhill.
While I doubt this to be totally true given the media's track record, the unfortunate reality for the Cowboys is that until they start winning, the rumour will gain traction.
After all, actions speak louder than words.
Taumalolo, again, has been named on the extended bench. Whether he plays, however, will become clearer as the week progresses.
Last week's loss to Canterbury saw them slip to fifteen position on the ladder and while the season is only early, more losses now will mean more pressure later.
While not as highly rated as their opponents this week, improvement was still expected of the Gold Coast Titans this year.
There were no excuses for coach Garth Brennan in his second year at the helm. The side boasted a forward pack brimming with representative honours and a talented backline.
But after dismantling Newcastle 38-14, the Titans would have been flying when they soared out to a 14-point lead against Wests last week.
Instead they collapsed, conceding 30 unanswered points and will enter Friday's game low on confidence.
In Johnathan Thurston's final NRL game the Cowboys took down the Titans by four points.
Who to watch: Daly Cherry-Evans' recent ankle injury has placed Michael Morgan right back into the spotlight for not only the number seven jersey but also the captaincy of the Queensland Maroons this year. Morgan has had a mixed start to 2019 though. His polished performance against the Warriors a fortnight ago showed what he is capable of, icing the game late to lead his side to a 17-10 win. It is expected that he will be able to do the same against the lowly Titans otherwise questions could be asked.
Only last year Ashley Taylor's name was being thrown around as the way of the future for the Maroons. However, consistency has often alluded the young halfback and injuries have made his job even tougher in 2019. If fitness is an issue, perhaps it is better that the Gold Coast's million-dollar man spends more time on the sideline to get things right. If he chooses to be on the field, however, he has to perform and live up to his price tag.
The favourite: The Cowboys are favourites at home.
My tip: It is hard to tip either side with any confidence after last week's effort. Home ground advantage is all that splits them. Cowboys by 7.