North Queensland Cowboys
PHIL LUTTON 1:12pm North Queensland has been dealt a blow ahead of their knockout final against the Roosters, with backrower Tariq Sims lodging an early guilty plea and copping a five-week suspension for his shoulder charge on Justin Hodges.
BRAD WALTER 7:59pm Sydney Roosters players admit North Queensland coach Paul Green knows exactly how they play from his time with the premiers last season and predict that Friday night's semi-final at Allianz Stadium will be a battle between two near-identical defensive structures.
North Queensland forward Tariq Sims' season could be over after being hit with a grade three shoulder charge by the judiciary - a sanction that carries at least a five-match ban.
PHIL LUTTON North Queensland are hoping the NRL match review comittee will view Tariq Sims' collision with Justin Hodges as a 'head clash' and not a late shoulder charge as the backrow enforcer tries to book his spot against the Roosters.
STEVE MASCORD Brisbane co-captain Justin Hodges says “hopefully” rival Tariq Sims is not suspended for a late challenge on him – but also that he doesn’t care.
STEVE MASCORD Captain Johnathan Thurston has warned North Queensland will be no match for Sydney Roosters in next week’s preliminary semi-final if they repeat the black spot that allowed Brisbane back into their play-off match.
STEVE MASCORD North Queensland survived a bolting Brisbane Broncos second-half revival to set up an appointment next weekend with the premiers – but their gun second-rower Tariq Sims may not be there.
PHIL LUTTON In the months after North Queensland's controversial exit from the NRL finals last season, a special package arrived at the front desk of Rugby League Central in Sydney.
MICHAEL CARAYANNIS Johnathan Thurston believes his Cowboys are owed a little bit of luck from the "footy gods" after controversial referee decisions contributed to North Queensland's finals exits in consecutive seasons.
STEVE MASCORD The JJ Giltinan Shield did not make the trip to Townsville for Manly's tilt at the minor premiership - and it's just as well. The venerable trophy is now staying where it's been for the last 12 months: on the Sydney Roosters' mantelpiece.
MICHAEL CHAMMAS North Queensland Cowboys v Manly Sea Eagles at 1300SMILES Stadium, Saturday, 7.30pm
Brent Tate's decorated and courageous rugby league career is over.
STEVE MASCORD North Queensland coach Paul Green has revealed a flu epidemic ripped through his team in the lead-up to the unexpectedly gripping golden point win over Cronulla.
STEVE MASCORD We probably shouldn’t have been so dismissive of a club that came back from 22-0 down to win – and then from 24-0 to repeat the trick the following week earlier this season.
North Queensland have been fined $20,000 for breaching concussion guidelines, prompting an NRL warning to clubs who put their players at risk ahead of what looms as a brutal finals series.
DOMINIC BOSSI South Sydney blew the opportunity to move into pole position and grasp one hand on the minor premiership after slumping to a disappointing loss at home to a rampant North Queensland Cowboys.
MICHAEL CHAMMAS SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS v NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS at ANZ Stadium, Saturday 7.30pm
MICHAEL CHAMMAS The Panthers might have went after Johnathan Thurston as their priority recruit, but on Monday night Jamie Soward proved that he was more than just a second prize, leading the Panthers to a nail-biting one point victory.
MICHAEL CHAMMAS Panthers coach Ivan Cleary insists there's more to North Queensland than the man they tried so hard to lure to Penrith.
STEVE MASCORD North Queensland are in the top four after an absence of more than two years – but their next home game isn’t until September.
STEVE MASCORD Professional sportsmen don’t need to open their mouths to get their coach sacked. They just have to play like Wests Tigers did against North Queensland, slumping to one of the club’s worst ever losses and crashing out of finals contention into the bargain.
MICHAEL CHAMMAS North Queensland v Wests Tigers at 1300SMILES Stadium, Saturday 7.30pm
STEVE MASCORD North Queensland welcomed back two superheroes; Ashton Sims did his best Thor impersonation in a hammering of the Titans – and Nate Myles was a comic.
TOM DECENT Canterbury coach Des Hasler admitted his side had its chances in its 20-12 loss to the Cowboys on Saturday night and was noticeably grumpy in the post-match press conference.
TOM DECENT Cowboys prop James Tamou was rushed to hospital with a suspected neck injury during his side’s shock 20-12 win over the Bulldogs on Saturday night.
TOM DECENT After a lacklustre second term against an exuberant Tigers pack last Sunday, where they conceded more points than any other match in Des Hasler's reign at the club, the Bulldogs were well and truly out for redemption.
MICHAEL CARAYANNIS North Queensland have ended their eight game losing streak to win their first game away from Townsville this season to beat Cronulla 36-18 at Remondis Stadium on Friday night.
MICHAEL CARAYANNIS North Queensland coach Paul Green has praised Michael Morgan after the Cowboys fullback continues to grow in his role at the back.
MICHAEL CHAMMAS North Queensland called it a Sydney conspiracy, but Cronulla prop Andrew Fifita believes the Cowboys would not have cried foul if they had won the semi-final against the Sharks last year.
Benji Marshall back to his best in St George Illawarra Dragons' win over North Queensland Cowboys in NRL clash
Mitch Jennings Benji Marshall returned as an NRL force as the Dragons edged out North Queensland 27-24 at Kogarah on Saturday night.