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NRL Match Preview: Raiders v Cowboys

The Raiders will return to Canberra to take on the North Queensland Cowboys at GIO Stadium this Thursday night in round six action. 

The Raiders will be looking to continue their undefeated start to the season at GIO Stadium after winning both their games in Canberra against the Sharks and Titans.

Meanwhile this will be the first time the Cowboys have left Queensland in 2022 and they will be looking to bounce back after back-to-back losses.

Raiders captain Elliott Whitehead will play his 150th match for the club and will move to the second row with Ryan Sutton starting at lock.

Raiders v Cowboys Preview

Raiders young gun Xavier Savage will make his first appearance of the season off the bench in jersey 14.

Team Lists


  • Fullback for Raiders is number 1 Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad
    Fullback for Cowboys is number 1 Scott Drinkwater
  • Winger for Raiders is number 2 Nick Cotric
    Winger for Cowboys is number 2 Kyle Feldt
  • Centre for Raiders is number 3 Matthew Timoko
    Centre for Cowboys is number 3 Valentine Holmes
  • Centre for Raiders is number 4 Semi Valemei
    Centre for Cowboys is number 4 Peta Hiku
  • Winger for Raiders is number 5 Jordan Rapana
    Winger for Cowboys is number 5 Murray Taulagi
  • Five-Eighth for Raiders is number 6 Jack Wighton
    Five-Eighth for Cowboys is number 6 Tom Dearden
  • Halfback for Raiders is number 7 Brad Schneider
    Halfback for Cowboys is number 7 Chad Townsend


  • Prop for Raiders is number 8 Josh Papali'i
    Prop for Cowboys is number 10 Coen Hess
  • Hooker for Raiders is number 9 Tom Starling
    Hooker for Cowboys is number 9 Reece Robson
  • Prop for Raiders is number 10 Joseph Tapine
    Prop for Cowboys is number 16 Reuben Cotter
  • 2nd Row for Raiders is number 11 Corey Harawira-Naera
    2nd Row for Cowboys is number 12 Jeremiah Nanai
  • 2nd Row for Raiders is number 12 Elliott Whitehead
    2nd Row for Cowboys is number 15 Heilum Luki
  • Lock for Raiders is number 13 Ryan Sutton
    Lock for Cowboys is number 13 Jason Taumalolo


  • Interchange for Raiders is number 14 Xavier Savage
    Interchange for Cowboys is number 8 Jordan McLean
  • Interchange for Raiders is number 15 Emre Guler
    Interchange for Cowboys is number 11 Tom Gilbert
  • Interchange for Raiders is number 16 Adam Elliott
    Interchange for Cowboys is number 14 Jake Granville
  • Interchange for Raiders is number 17 Corey Horsburgh
    Interchange for Cowboys is number 17 Connelly Lemuelu


  • Replacement for Raiders is number 18 Sebastian Kris
    Replacement for Cowboys is number 23 Ben Hampton

Match Officials

  • Referee: Ashley Klein
  • Touch Judge: Jon Stone
  • Touch Judge: Drew Oultram
  • Senior Review Official: Grant Atkins

Last updated:

Last Time They Met

The Raiders suffered a disappointing 26-6 loss to the Cowboys in Townsville in round two earlier this season.

Key Match-Ups

Ryan Sutton vs Jason Taumalolo

Ryan Sutton will have a big task ahead of him come Thursday night when he marks up against one of the best forwards of the competition in Jason Taumalolo.

Sutton will make his second appearance of the season after playing his first game last week. Sutton was one of the green machines best players last season where he averaged 115 running metres and made 31 tackles per game.

Taumalolo has been near his best to start 2022. The Cowboys co-captain has averaged over 150 running metres a game and sits seventh in post contact metres in the competition despite his limited playing time.

It will be a big test for Sutton but if he can get the better of his opposing lock then the Raiders will be one step closer to being victorious.

Josh Papalii vs Jordan McLean

All attention will be focused on the battle in the middle when these two international front rowers clash on Thursday night. 

Papalii has continued to prove how important he is to the green machine as he continues to average over 100 running metres a game. Papalii has also made an impact with his defence, making 124 tackles and missing just one all season giving him a tackle efficiency of 99.2%.

Meanwhile McLean has returned to the form that saw him get selected for the Australian Kangaroos in 2017, averaging 107 running metres a game to start the season.

This battle in the middle will go a long way in deciding the game on Thursday night so it's up to Papalii and McLean to dominate the other and earn their side the win. 

Matthew Timoko vs Valentine Holmes

Timoko has proven to be one of the best young talents in the competition but he will not be taken lightly by the Queensland and Australian try-scoring machine, Valentine Holmes.

Timoko has been a handful for opposition sides, averaging 96 running metres and having 19 tackle breaks. The young gun centre has two tries to his name in 2022.

Meanwhile Holmes has relished his move to the centres where he has become one of the best players in that position. Holmes is running for over 140 metres a game while also scoring two tries this season.

It could be a moment of brilliance from one of these electrifying centres that decides the game on Thursday night.

Head to Head

Since 1998 the two sides are currently tied at 21 wins each out of the 42 meetings between the two teams, so whoever can get the victory on Thursday night will get the upper hand. 


Acknowledgement of Country

Canberra Raiders respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.