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Battle-hardened since we met

North Queensland Toyota Cowboys captain Gavin Cooper says a lot has changed since this Saturday night's preliminary final opponents last met in Round 21 of the regular season.

Playing again at Allianz Stadium – the scene for this weekend's Cowboys v Roosters grand final qualifier – the Cowboys were defeated 22-16 by the eventual minor premiership runners-up, in a match that began a four-game losing streak for Paul Green's men.

"We played really good for the first half against the Roosters down there but coming out in the second half they really blew us off the park and we didn't know how to handle it," Cooper said.

"Moving down the track we've played some bigger games again and have come up against some big packs that play power footy like they do, and we've learnt how to handle that and then find a way to get back over teams.

"For that experience, our boys will be in a much better position."

Kick off for Saturday night's game is at 7.40pm.