It’s Round 3 of the NRL Telstra Premiership and it will kick off with a bang on Thursday night, as the Roosters go head-to-head with the Cowboys in Townsville.

 

After a much improved performance against the Raiders last Saturday, the Roosters are looking to get on the winners list in Round 3 against the defending premiers. 

It’s a short turnaround for the Roosters and the Cowboys, after both sides took to the field on Saturday in Round 2. 

There are plenty of class players in this one, making for mouth-watering head-to-head entertainment.

KEY MATCH-UPS

1. Latrell Mitchell | Lachlan Coote

2. Daniel Tupou | Kyle Feldt

3. Dale Copley | Justin O’Neill

4. Blake Ferguson | Kane Linnett

5. Shaun Kenny-Dowall | Antonio Winterstein

6. Jayden Nikorima | Michael Morgan

7. Jackson Hastings | Johnathan Thurston (c)

8. Kane Evans | Matthew Scott (c)

9. Jake Friend (c) | Jake Granville

10. Dylan Napa | James Tamou

11. Aidan Guerra | Gavin Cooper

12. Mitchell Aubusson | Ethan Lowe

13. Sio Siua Taukeiaho | Jason Taumalolo

14. Isaac Liu | Rory Kostjasyn

15. Sam Moa | John Asiata

16. Ian Henderson | Scott Bolton

17. Mitchell Frei | Ben Hannant

Mitchell Meets Coote: After a successful shift to fullback in Round 2, Latrell Mitchell gets the nod to play his preferred position again in Round 3. 

There will be a lot of firsts for Latrell in his debut NRL season, one of those firsts being a head-to-head clash with Lachlan Coote. 

Coote is the complete package, boasting blistering speed, a solid passing game and a bit of toughness to match. 

Latrell showed glimpses of his speed in the Nines and all through his time in the Holden Cup, while his strength was on full show last week when he forced his way through defenders to score his first try in the NRL. 

It’s youth vs experience at the fullback position, and the winner will be determined by hunger and enthusiasm.

Jake vs Jake: The Roosters Captain has had some solid challenges in his first grade career, but one man he has never faced is Jake Granville. 

Granville was promoted to starting hooker in Round 4 of the 2015 season, and was instrumental for the Cowboys throughout the season. 

Friend has a job on his hands with Granville and even a potential point to prove. 

With both players eligible for the Maroons in the same position, Kevin Walters will be doing some head-scratching when Cameron Smith retires. 

The first match-up is on tonight, and the prospect is exciting to say the least. 

Two Smoking Barrels: Potentially the most exciting match-up of the year is on the way when Sio Siua Taukeiaho and Jason Taumalolo go head-to-head tonight.

The Kiwi locks are damaging runners of the football, providing their teams with plenty of aggression and spark. 

The pair play a similar style of game, and there’s no telling what’s going to happen when they start running at each other. 

LAST FIVE

2015. Roosters DEF Cowboys | 28-4 at 1300SMILES Stadium

2014. Roosters DEF Cowboys | 31-30 at Allianz Stadium

2014. Cowboys DEF Roosters | 42-10 at 1300SMILES Stadium

2013. Roosters DEF Cowboys | 12-8 at 1300SMILES Stadium

2012. Cowboys DEF Roosters | 50-12 at TIO Stadium

VERDICT

The Roosters face a massive challenge in Round 3, with the defending premiers to be no walk in the park at their home ground. 

There has been steady improvement from Round 1 to Round 2, and that will need to continue leading into the clash. 

A big effort is needed, but not impossible from a side that has always been up to the big battles. 

The Roosters will need to be at their best, if they are a win may be on the cards tonight.