The Raiders will be itching to get back into the winner's circle after close back-to-back losses to the Roosters and Rabbitohs over the past two rounds.
It won't count for much that Canberra gave those two benchmark sides a real shake. This week they need the win to keep in touch with the top four.
And the Cowboys will want to make sure they fix up any attacking systems around their decoy running. They had three tries disallowed for obstruction against the Eels last week, but still managed to pull off a 17-10 win.
That was only their fourth win of the season, but that's now three victories from their last five games so things could be looking up for Paul Green's troops.
Raiders: No changes for Ricky Stuart, with every player pulling up well after last week's intensely physical battle with the Rabbitohs. And in more good news for Canberra fans, Joe Tapine returns from injury via the bench. Sebastian Kris and Emre Guler were the last players cut prior to kick-off, while Aidan Sezer and Royce Hunt were trimmed from the reserves on Friday.
Cowboys: Coen Hess is out, replaced in the starting side by Mitch Dunn. Scott Bolton is also out, with Josh McGuire elevated to the bench after returning earlier than expected from injury. Gideon Gela-Mosby will start on the wing in place of injured Ben Hampton. Corey Jensen and Jake Clifford were cut 24 hours prior to kick-off.
The fortunes of the two No.7s during this 80 minutes will be key in deciding who wins this one. The kicking games of Michael Morgan and Sam Williams have many desirable elements. Morgan has eight forced drop outs and averages 320 metres a game, while Williams has five repeat sets and averages 228 metres. Morgan, however, edges his opposite considerably in try assists - nine to two.
For the Raiders to win
The output of forwards like Corey Horsburgh, Hudson Young, Ryan Sutton and Elliott Whitehead - especially in post-contact metres - needs to be as strong again against a big Cowboys outfit as it was against South Sydney's stellar pack. They are proving dangerous and unpredictable runners.
For the Cowboys to win
Another performance from Matt Scott like he unleashed on the Eels - a line break and seven tackle breaks. The Cowboys forwards are finally starting to fire as one after some injury disruptions. Jordan McLean (166 metres), Jason Taumalolo (233), Coen Hess (136), and Scott's efforts (126) led the way last week and are gaining in confidence as well as power.
Brett Kimmorley says
Sometimes you can take confidence from losses and I think Canberra will do that. Their big danger right now is through the middle – Josh Hodgson is the key man at dummy-half and Josh Papalii is playing big minutes at the moment. The Cowboys have got a bit of groove back – that forward pack we've been so excited about all year is starting to show what they can do. Matt Scott impressed last week and will be looking for another big game to push his Origin chances and win his Queensland jersey back. Cowboys by 4.
Elliott Whitehead is second in the NRL to Knights prop David Klemmer for kick charge-downs, and he might need to utilise those skills with the likes of Morgan's talents with the boot. The Cowboys No.7 leads the NRL in 40/20s.
And another thing ...
Canberra won both their games against the Cowboys in 2018 but the GIO Stadium victory (38-12 in round 18) came at a cost with Jarrod Croker dislocating his knee cap and ending his season. The Raiders love having Croker around as he's equal third (with Adam Reynolds) in the race for top points scorer behind Latrell Mitchell and Kalyn Ponga.