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NRL: Cowboys out to keep finals hopes alive

North Queensland Cowboys are in need of a win against Cronulla Sharks on Thursday night as they attempt to push their way into the eight and play finals.

There are just three games of the regular NRL season remaining and a handful of clubs are still in with a shout of making finals.

The Cowboys are one of them and two points against the Sharks would give their hopes a big boost.

It will be far from easy though. The Sharks also have a lot to play for and have set their sights on pinching a place in the top four.

That would increase their chances of premiership success so there will be no holding back in Townsville.

Must-win for the Cowboys

WhatNorth Queensland Cowboys v Cronulla Sharks
WhereQueensland Country Bank Stadium, Townsville
When19:50 (AEST) Thursday 17th August, 2023
How to watchChannel 9, Optus Sport
OddsNorth Queensland Cowboys 1.60, Cronulla Sharks 2.35

The Cowboys should be feeling fresh after the bye last week and they need to finish strongly to have a chance of making finals.

They have three games remaining against the Sharks, Dolphins and Panthers and may have to win all three to get there.

Penrith are likely to rest players in the final game, which could make things a bit easier, but the Cowboys need to win the next two games first of all.

They will need to turn around some poor form if they are to do it. North Queensland lost to the Titans and Broncos before the bye, but did win six on the bounce before that.

If they can find that form again, there is a good chance of Todd Payten’s side extending their season into September.

The Cowboys have been boosted by the news that forward James Tamou could make his long-awaited return from the foot injury that has kept him out since round four.

The game could come a week too soon for Jeremiah Nanai though, as he battles a shoulder injury.

Sharks back on track

After being smashed 28-0 by the Panthers, Cronulla have got themselves back on track with impressive wins over the Rabbitohs and Titans.

They now sit in fifth, just two points behind Melbourne Storm in fourth, with games against the Cowboys, Newcastle Knights and Canberra Raiders to come.

Cronulla have already beaten the Cowboys once this season, and did so in convincing fashion, winning 44-6 at Shark Park.

A trip to Townsville will be a completely different proposition, but they will be confident of getting the job done following some good wins away from home this season.

Winger Ronaldo Mulitalo continues to be a huge threat for the Sharks and he bagged another couple of tries in the win over Titans. He now has 18 for the season.

If the Sharks are to win, it is likely to be tight and they can be backed at 7.00 to win by 1-5 points. 6-10 points is also the same price.

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