Warriors v Cowboys preview

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Warriors v North Queensland Cowboys Saturday 5:30pm at Mt Smart Stadium

Hands up who expected this? 

Not even the most ardent Warriors fans expected them to be undefeated, headed into Round 5. The fever is starting to build after their 24-point demolition of the Roosters without pivot Shaun Johnson. The addition of Tohu Harris and Blake Green has breathed fresh life into a side that has flattered to deceived in the last few years despite some high-profile recruits. 

Now can they continue this, with the heightened expectations taking on last year's runners-up the North Queensland Cowboys. The Cinderella story from 2017 has turned into a pumpkin thus far in 2018 - they sit fourteenth with a single win after the first month. 

In what should be a fitting swansong for Johnathan Thurston has quickly turned to a nightmare. Injuries and the side not clicking like most pundits expected has heaped a Stonecutter's styled boulder around the neck of Paul Green and his men, and travelling across the tasman, taking on a pumped-up Warriors side makes for grim expectations for the weekend. 

Last meeting: Round 20 2017 - Cowboys 24 Warriors 12

Who to watch: Five try Fusitua! The hulking winger is the top try-scorer coming into the weekend and against one of the bottom-half defensive sides thus far. It is the second half of the double header, so expect the Warriors to put on a show and normally when they do, The Fus is one of the stars of the show. 

Looking at the away side, it would be easy to say Thurston is the man to watch but this preview likes to be a bit different. It'll be a big game for the other 'JT' - Jason Taumalolo has been slightly down on the godzilla-like performances from 2017, and coming up against a Warriors pack, he will want to make a statement and lead the Cowboys pack to their second victory.

The favourite: A 4-0 start to the season coupled with poor form from the Cowboys has the Warriors well backed.

My tip: They're at home, in form and Shaun Johnson is back. Warriors by 12.

1. Roger Tuivasa-sheck 2. David Fusitua 3. Peta Hiku 4. Solomone Kata 5. Ken Maumalo 6. Blake Green 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Bunty Afoa 9. Issac Luke 10. Agnatius Paasi 11. Leivaha Pulu 12. Tohu Harris 13. Adam Blair 14. Jazz Tevaga 15. Sam Lisone 16. Simon Mannering 17. Anthony Gelling

1. Ben Hampton 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Justin O'Neill 4. Javid Bowen 5. Antonio Winterstein 6. Michael Morgan 7. Johnathan Thurston 8. Matthew Scott 9. Jake Granville 10. Scott Bolton 11. Gavin Cooper 12. Coen Hess 13. Jason Taumalolo 14. Te Maire Martin 15. John Asiata 16. Corey Jensen 17. Ethan Lowe

Referees: Matt Cecchin, Phil Henderson; Sideline Officials: Brett Suttor, Adam Cassidy; Video Referees: Luke Patten, Steve Chiddy;

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