Panthers clash over Cowboys’ NRL Final Certificates

Cowboys are undoubtedly the most advanced team this season.

North Queensland, who struggled to adapt to life after Jonathan Thurston, have won eight of their 11 matches as we reach the halfway mark of the season.

They could easily be 10-1, as their opponents the Panthers, not for narrow losses to the Bulldogs and Warriors in the 1st and 5th rounds, respectively.

Their only defeat this season was a 28-4 loss to the Roosters at home in Round 4, which proved to be a turning point in the club’s progress under Todd Petten, who is in his second year as head coach.

Although they lost to the Warriors at Golden Point the following week, it was a sign of things to come.

Last week they beat Melbourne Storm 36-6 in front of the biggest crowd to attend a rugby league match at QCB Stadium since opening the door in 2020, bringing it six consecutive wins.

They were leading 12-6 at half-time, but despite the end of a game between Premiership players Jason Toumalolo and Kyle Feld, the Cowboys rioted with four unanswered attempts in the second half, as well as two more (one through a double movement) were denied.

Although the Cowers scored 30 points or more for the fifth week in a row, they were without Ryan Papenhuen and Jahrom Hughes due to storm injuries.

This marks North Queensland’s first win against Melbourne since the preliminary final in 2015, and will give them the confidence they need to face the final test facing the top-of-the-table panthers at the foot of the hill this Friday night.

The six-match winning streak they will take in Round 12 is their longest in six years, and another win will turn it into their longest unbeaten run since their 2015 Premiership year, when they won 11 in a row.

Penrith has won ten of their first 11 matches, rocking some indifferent precision form with a mere two-point defeat at home to Iles in Round 9.

Last fortnight, the Mountain Menas hit back with revenge, beating the Roosters for the fifth time in a row last Saturday night before beating Storm 32-6 in the first Magic Round, their first win in the SCG since 1985.

Jerome Louie and Isa were among the best of the Yo Panthers and their good form would be welcome news for NSW coach Brad Fitler, who has had to deal with injuries to key players.

Panthers' Jerome Louie celebrates with teammates

Jerome Louis of the Panthers (Matt King / Getty Images)

Friday night’s clash will be the competition’s two best defense fights, with the Panthers losing just three points from the Cowboys (128 to 131).

North Queensland will be hoping to avoid a repeat of last year’s Round 1 trip to Penrith, where they suffered a 24-0 defeat in their first match as the club’s head coach after crossing over from the Warriors during the 2020-21 off. -Season.

But after a second-final finish in 2021, with seven wins, the Cowboys have already won one more match than last year and are contenders for the actual final.

For Patten and his side, the Panthers face off as the final test of where they are as a club, and if they want to make a big boulevard they will want to pull a page out of the eel book.

But due to the knee injury mentioned above, they will have to fight without Toumalolo and Feld, having to be out for the next six weeks, which means he has also been dropped from the State of Origin series.

It will be a huge night for the NRL’s Queensland contingent, the evening after the Southeast Queensland derby between the Brisbane Broncos and the Gold Coast Titans.

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