Townsville-based Cowboys members and fans will have the rare chance to see a North Queensland derby in their own backyard on Saturday evening.
Defending Intrust Super Cup premiers Mackay Cutters will take on Northern Pride in a full-scale pre-season trial match that will involve 10 contracted Cowboys, all seeking match fitness ahead of the NRL season and the chance to make it into coach Paul Green’s round one squad to face Canberra.
Lining up at the TDJRL fields at Kern Brothers Drive will be four Cowboys aligned with the Cutters – Glenn Hall, Ashton Sims, Sam Hoare and John Asiata – and six aligned with the Pride – Scott Bolton, Cameron King, Ricky Thorby, Ethan Lowe, Matthew Wright and Patrick Kaufusi.
All 10 were teammates at the weekend when the Cowboys downed the Brisbane Broncos 32-8 at Redcliffe, but were not chosen in North Queensland’s squad for the inaugural NRL Auckland Nines.
Cowboys triallist Doug Hewitt, who wore the Cowboys No.6 jersey against Brisbane, will be in the halves for Mackay who were beaten 24-10 by the Cowboys NYC team last Saturday night.
Cowboys assistant coaches Terry Matterson and Adrian Thomson will be at the game to keep a close eye on the contenders for the NRL season opener.
“For some it’s about match fitness and also for others it’s about impressing,” head coach Paul Green said of his players' involvement in the ISC trial.
The Pride v Cutters clash kicks off at 5.30pm and is one of eight matches on the schedule at Neil Stewart Park.
It will be the last hit-out for both ISC clubs before the start of the season on 1 March.