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HEAD TO HEAD: Played 26 times - Wests Tigers 14, North Queensland 12

LAST TIME: 2012 North Queensland 29 defeated Wests Tigers 16 (A)


Wests Tigers 50 defeated Nth Qld 6 (2005)

North Qld 42 defeated Wests Tigers 14 (2009)

Aaron Woods v Matt Scott

Could this be a preview of this years State of Origin? North Queenslands Matt Scott is almost certain to be selected for Queensland, while Aaron Woods will be hoping to hear his name for the Blues when teams are announced on Sunday.

Woods was the second top tackler in last weeks loss to the Rabbitohs, with his effort of 32 only being outdone by Liam Fultons 39. The prop has done his Origin chances no harm over the past few weeks, leading the way with impressive hit-ups and metres gained. Woods will no doubt come out firing against the Cowboys as he pushes his claims for an Origin debut.

Scott, a Queensland and Australian Representative, will be looking to lead his side back into form after suffering successive defeats to the Roosters and Rabbitohs. Always a solid performer, the Wests Tigers defence will need to limit the workhorse props impressive metres. Scott is ranked sixth in the NRL for metres gained in 2013; with Andrew Fifita being the only other forward ahead of him.


Braith Anasta v Dallas Johnson

While Braith Anasta and Dallas Johnson will line-up with the same number on their back, both play a very different style. With that said, it still makes for an exciting match-up with over 450 NRL games between them.

Anasta makes his return from a groin injury sustained in the Round 6 clash with the Dragons. His inclusion not only gives the Wests Tigers side much needed experience, but also throws an extra playmaker in the mix to support Robbie Farah, Benji Marshall and Curtis Sironen. Mick Potter will be hoping Anastas leadership will help get his side a much needed win at Leichhardt Oval.

On the other hand, Johnson is well known for his tackling prowess. Last weekend against the Roosters was no exception with the experienced back-rower making 43 tackles in his sides 12-8 loss. With over 200 NRL games under his belt, a match-up with fellow campaigner Anasta is one that will no doubt shape the games outcome.

Benji Marshall v Jonathan Thurston

While all the talk has surrounded Benji Marshalls return to the starting side, his clash with Australian five-eighth Jonathan Thurston has been somewhat overlooked.

Marshall still had plenty of game time against the Rabbitohs after starting on the bench. The experienced playmaker looked dangerous despite limited chances in attack. Joel Reddy and Marshall are the only two players in the Wests Tigers backline that have played more than 12 NRL games, so plenty will rest on the New Zealand Internationals performance. Returning to the starting side against the Cowboys, look out for a big game from a pumped-up Marshall.

In a classic match-up, Marshall goes head to head with another one of the NRLs superstars. Thurston ranks sixth in the NRL for kick metres this season and will look to test the relatively young Wests Tigers back three of James Tedesco, Marika Koroibete and David Nofoaluma. His combination with Matt Bowen has been the backbone of the Cowboys attacking structure for a long time and is one that the Wests Tigers defence will have to watch closely.