Sacked coach shows faith in his Cowboys

Ray Thompson, who will start at hooker for the Cowboys on Saturday, takes on the Titans defence at Skilled Park on June 2.
Ray Thompson, who will start at hooker for the Cowboys on Saturday, takes on the Titans defence at Skilled Park on June 2. Getty Images

DUMPED coach Neil Henry has this week shown more faith in his underperforming players than the board of directors has in sacking him, as the Cowboys face their final, desperate hurdle in the race to the NRL finals.

Needing to win their six remaining games, and with Henry in charge to the end of the season, the Cowboys will host the competition-leading Rabbitohs on Saturday with three changes to the starting side beaten 18-16 by the Broncos last weekend.

Rookie Kyle Feldt makes his debut on the wing, Joel Riethmuller replaces injured lock Dallas Johnson, and Ray Thompson will start at hooker for Anthony Mitchell.

After being dumped to the Queensland Cup last weekend, young back-rowers Tariq Sims and Jason Taumalolo have been added to an extended bench, along with Rory Kostjasyn and Scott Bolton.

A junior Kangaroos rep in 2011, Feldt has scored 37 tries and kicked 211 goals in the Holden Cup.

The Rabbitohs are unchanged, with last week's changes - Matt King, Dylan Farrell, George Burgess, Luke Keary and Tom Burgess - retaining their places.

The loss of centre Alex Glenn has caused yet another reshuffle for the Broncos, who meet the Knights in Newcastle on Friday night.

Veteran David Stagg will partner Justin Hodges, with Nick Slyney added to the bench. Ben Hannant was not named, but could still be a late starter.

Without regular props Willie Mason (injured) and Kade Snowden (suspended), the Knights have named David Fa'alogo and Zane Tetevano up front in an otherwise unchanged team.

Injuries have again struck the luckless Titans, with half Albert Kelly, hooker Matt Srama and veteran prop Luke Bailey sidelined for Sunday's clash with the Tigers at Skilled Park.

David Mead was named as the new fullback, with Anthony Don, who scored four tries in the Q Cup last weekend, his replacement on the wing. Ash Harrison moves from lock to five-eighth and Aiden Sezer to halfback; Beau Falloon is the new hooker; and Luke Douglas and Ben Ridge start in a reshuffled pack.

Skipper Paul Gallen returns for the Sharks in their important clash with the New Zealand Warriors on Saturday evening.

Missing since injuring his foot in Origin II, Gallen is the only change for the Sharks, with Origin teammate Luke Lewis still on the injured list. The high-flying Warriors are unchanged.

In other team news, Blake Ferguson has again been overlooked for the Raiders; Eels halfback Luke Kelly is injured, with Api Pewhairangi his replacement; and Aiden Guerra has been added to the Roosters pack to replace Sonny Bill Williams, who has been suspended for two matches.

Topics:  north queensland cowboys nrl rugby league

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