Dragons v Cowboys: Mbye new No.1; Cotter nears return

The Dragons remain in the mix for the eight after a good win over Manly but they face a stern test of their credentials against the Cowboys on Sunday.

When the two sides met in round 14 it was the Cowboys running away with the game 31-12 in Townsville and Todd Payten's men have gone on with the job since then to sit alone in second spot.

Should the Cowboys go on to secure an all important top-four spot they will look back on the round 15 miracle comeback against Manly and the round 19 great escape against the Tigers as pivotal moments in their season.

The Dragons face a gruelling run home with games against the Cowboys, Sharks and Broncos to come but they have given themselves a fighting chance of being part of the September action.

The Rundown
Team news

Dragons: Fullback Cody Ramsey is set to miss two games with a knee injury so the versatile Moses Mbye takes the No.1 jersey, Jack Bird goes to centre, Tariq Sims comes into the starting side at lock and Aaron Woods joins the bench. With Jayden Sullivan sidelined by a shoulder injury Tyrell Sloan gets a recall on the bench for his first game since Round 10. The Dragons were unchanged when the squad was trimmed to 19 on Saturday night. 

Cowboys: No changes 24 hours out from kick off, with Reuben Cotter remaining in the 19-man squad and a chance of joining the 17 on game day after a layoff with a hamstring injury. 

Key match-up
Ben Hunt v Chad Townsend: Impossible to go past the battle of the two No.7s as the most intriguing and most important at Netstrata Jubilee on Sunday. With five tries in his past six games, Hunt has been lethal from close range and the Cowboys will need to be extra vigilant if they're to prevent the Dragons skipper from adding to that tally. Townsend may not be scoring tries but he is laying them on for fun, racking up 15 try assists, eight line break assists and 11 forced dropouts in a campaign that has been all class and composure.

Stat Attack
The Cowboys have come up with 59 try assists so far this season, 20 less than the No.1 ranked Panthers (79) but 16 more than the Dragons (53) who are 13th on the list.


Story first published on NRL.com

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