North Queensland Cowboys against Gold Coast Titans at 1300Smiles Stadium. Cowboys Coen Hess stretches for the tryline. Picture: Evan Morgan
North Queensland Cowboys against Gold Coast Titans at 1300Smiles Stadium. Cowboys Coen Hess stretches for the tryline. Picture: Evan Morgan

Hess: Cowboys can cook up the Rabbitohs

Cowboys forward Coen Hess says containing South Sydney's dummy-half Damien Cook is essential to denying the Rabbitohs a hat-trick over Queensland clubs from their Magic Round clash on Sunday.

North Queensland and South Sydney, who beat Gold Coast in round 3 and poleaxed Brisbane 38-6 last Thursday, will close the Magic Round in its eighth and final game at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday.

North Queensland lost by a point twice last year in two matches against South Sydney, in Cairns and Townsville, but previously had a knack for beating the Rabbitohs, having won eight of nine clashes with the Redfern club.

 

North Queensland Cowboys against Gold Coast Titans at 1300Smiles Stadium. Cowboys Coen Hess stretches for the tryline. Picture: Evan Morgan
North Queensland Cowboys against Gold Coast Titans at 1300Smiles Stadium. Cowboys Coen Hess stretches for the tryline. Picture: Evan Morgan

"Souths have the three Burgess brothers and their success has been coming through their middle third, like Damien Cook, who can create something out of nothing,'' Hess said.

"Souths are playing really good footy. The majority of our success has come in Cairns - it was a great spectacle when we went there.

"It will be an experience for us, being part of the whole Magic Round thing. I was thinking the other day about how it has a bit of a schoolboys footy carnival feel to it, with game after game.''

Suncorp Stadium executives said a rainy weekend followed by consecutive NRL, Super Rugby and A-League matches made them confident about the turf holding up to eight NRL matches in four days.

Rabbitoh's Sam Burgess celebrates with Cody Walker and Damien Cook the try of Kyle Turner during NRL match South Sydney Rabbitohs v Brisbane Broncos at ANZ Stadium. Picture. Phil Hillyard
Rabbitoh's Sam Burgess celebrates with Cody Walker and Damien Cook the try of Kyle Turner during NRL match South Sydney Rabbitohs v Brisbane Broncos at ANZ Stadium. Picture. Phil Hillyard


It is to their advantage that a seven-day forecast in Brisbane has rain forecast on only one day, Friday, when two games are played.

There are three matches on Saturday and two on Sunday.

"We have joked about how it might be a bit torn up - it's a point which might be raised (this) week,'' Hess said.

Despite North Queensland's win over Gold Coast last Friday, Queensland remains without a team in the top 10.

The Cowboys are placed 11th with their 3-5 win-loss record after Newcastle's 38-16 win over the Warriors Sunday.

 

 

Lachlan Croker’s injury leaves the Sea Eagles looking for a playmaker. Picture: AAP Image/Joel Carrett
Lachlan Croker’s injury leaves the Sea Eagles looking for a playmaker. Picture: AAP Image/Joel Carrett

 

 

Manly will have to find another playmaker after five-eighth Lachlan Croker injured a hamstring which did not stop him finishing their 18-10 win over Canterbury on Saturday.

Daly Cherry-Evans will miss a second match with an ankle injury when the fifth-placed Sea Eagles play Brisbane in the second match of Friday's double-header and prop Addin Fonua-Blake will need a scan on a knee injury.

Wally Lewis said he saw enough in Tom Dearden's debut as halfback in Brisbane's 38-6 loss to South Sydney to conclude Dearden would not need long to feel at home in first grade.

"After one or two first grade games, he will feel more comfortable and the play will revolve around him,'' Lewis said on Channel 9.

"He loves the role of organising. His club form for Wynnum Manly, he did that extremely well.''

Manly coach Des Hasler said Trent Hodkinson, a potential reinforcement in the position, would not be back from a knee operation in time for the Brisbane assignment.

"It's an apt name - we might need a bit of magic,'' Hasler said.

"The Broncos can be anything. They are big, mobile and athletic.''