Can Benji marshal his troops to victory over the Cowboys?
RETURNING playmaker Benji Marshall will have to conjure up more points tonight for St George Illawarra to upset a North Queensland outfit which has no trouble scoring tries.
If the Dragons can keep the game in Townsville close, which they did in their 14-12 win last weekend over Penrith, and also the previous week when they held out South Sydney 8-6, they could spring a big upset.
But the Cowboys, especially at home, are hard to contain for 80 minutes, and after trouncing the winless Roosters 40-0 at home they lost an incredible grand final re-match 21-20 to Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium in golden point.
Having put out its grand final-winning side for the opening four rounds, Cowboys coach Paul Green has been forced to make his first change with the elusive Javid Bowen, the nephew of Cowboys favourite Matty Bowen, making his NRL debut in the centre for the injured Kane Linnett.
Bowen said he had already received advice from his uncle about how to handle the big stage.
With Johnathan Thurston and Michael Morgan in such great early season form, and fullback Lachlan Coote playing for a new contract, the Cowboys have one of the best spines in the NRL.
Hooker Jake Granville was very good in the loss to the Broncos, and the Dragons will have their hands full containing rampaging young forward Jason Taumalolo and back-rower Ethan Lowe who is one of the most improved forwards in the NRL.
The Dragons pack, and in particular props Leeson Ah Mau and Russell Packer, as well as Tyson Frizzell and Joel Thompson will need to meet the likes of yardage makers Matt Scott and James Tamou head-on in the middle to stop the Cowboys from building that momentum that Thurston works so well off.