The Cowboys appear to have turned a corner, with their best performance of the year against the Panthers last weekend.
The enthusiastic and aggressive Panthers outfit had amazing line speed, didn’t make too many errors and really took it to the Cowboys. But on the back of terrific games by Coote, Hess, Taumalolo!!!, Cooper and Morgan, the Cowboys were able to get their attack firing and the whole team hustled hard in defence.
Special shout out to Ben Hampton, who is having his best season.
With 7 line breaks and nearly 1500 metres made last week, the Cowboys will fancy their chances against a Wests defence that is starting to get found out.
With the referees really cracking down on penalties given away to slow attacking momentum, the Wests defence from earlier in the season is becoming a distant memory. After conceding barely 12 points a game for the opening month of the season, Wests’ last three matches have seen them concede over 20 on each occasion.
This is because the referees are now sin binning players when a team gives repeated penalties, which was the strategy being employed by the Tigers earlier in the year.
On the plus side for Wests, they are welcoming back some talent in the forwards, with guys like Packer, Taylor, Liddle and Lawrence all likely to play together for the first time in over a month. Wests are also playing at Leichardt, which has been a very happy hunting ground for them in night matches of this nature.
However, the Cowboys certainly have been playing better. Even before their win against the Panthers, I thought they were still pretty impressive against the Raiders, despite losing that one.
A concern for the Cowboys is the police charge that had been made against tireless workhorse Scott Bolton. Although he is scheduled to play, there is a very big chance that this issue is playing on not only his mind, but the mind of his team mates…as such issues always affect the culture of a club.
All in all, the bookies have this one about right and with Wests form slide hard to get a good read on and the Cowboys needing to keep improving to get anywhere near the best, I am not willing to back either of these teams based on their current form.
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