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North Queensland Cowboys vs Penrith Panthers Tips and Odds – NRL 2023 Round 16

North Queensland Cowboys vs Penrith Panthers Tips and Odds – NRL 2023 Round 16

A tale of two Origin-depleted teams as a North Queensland side missing five players hosts a Penrith outfit stripped of five NSW stars on top of Nathan Cleary’s absence.

The Cowboys had the bye last week after carving out a stunning 45-20 home win over Melbourne in Round 14 – just a fortnight after conceding 66 points to Wests Tigers. Fullback Scott Drinkwater was in sizzling form, while winger Semi Valemei scored a hat-trick on club debut.

The Cowboys are wearing an even heavier Origin burden than before the series opener, with Reece Robson and Jeremiah Nanai joining Reuben Cotter, Valentine Holmes and Murray Taulagi in game two.

But marquee forward Jason Taumalolo’s long-awaited return softens the representative drain. Elsewhere, Zac Laybutt comes into the backline and Kyle Feldt returns, Jake Granville lines up at hooker, and Kulikefu Finefeuiaki and Sam McIntyre join the bench.

The ladder-leading Panthers are on a five-match winning streak, coming out of the bye to beat St George Illawarra 26-18 four days after Origin I then thrashing Sydney Roosters 30-6 in a superb performance last Saturday.

Jaeman Salmon joins Jack Cogger in the halves, Tom Jenkins makes his second NRL appearance on Brian To’o’s wing, Tyrone Peachey comes back in at centre, Zac Hosking and Moses Leota return after missing last week, and Luke Garner will make his first appearance since Round 4.

The Cowboys beat a second-string Panthers side 38-8 in Townsville in the final round last year, after losing the last four between the sides by an average margin of 19.5 points.

The Panthers are averaging an incredible 11.5 points conceded in 2023, though their list of unavailable players this weekend is likely to affect their rhythm on both sides of the ball.

The Cowboys – 5-2 in Townsville this season – performed admirably without their rep stars before the series opener against a modestly-impacted Eels side and are capable of using Taumalolo’s return as a spur to grab a valuable upset over the under-strength premiers.

The post North Queensland Cowboys vs Penrith Panthers Tips and Odds – NRL 2023 Round 16 first appeared on JustBetting.com.au.

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