NYC team: Cowboys v Roosters

Young utility Duarne Dempsey will make his NYC debut for the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys in this afternoon’s Round 3 match against the Sydney Roosters at 1300SMILES Stadium.

Dempsey was initially named on a five-man bench but will come into the 17-man team for the match, with hooker Calum Gahan dropping out of the lineup.

Dempsey will play some time at hooker after backup rake Reuben Cotter had his season cruelly ended last weekend against the Eels with an ACL injury.

The young Cowboys have split their opening two games of season 2016 with a loss to the Sharks and victory over the Eels.

North Queensland Toyota Cowboys NYC v Sydney Roosters NYC
4.05pm, Thursday 17 March, 1300SMILES Stadium

Referee: Adam Gee
Touch judges: Wyatt Raymond, Jack Ebert

TEAMS

Cowboys NYC: 1. Kalyn Ponga 2. Gideon Gela-Mosby 3. Nathan Traill 4. Enari Tuala 5. Marcus Jensen 6. Ty Carucci 7. Cooper Bambling 8. Darryn Schonig 9. Brandon Smith 10. Nick Brown 11. Coen Hess (c) 12. Cody Grills 13. Jordan Kenworthy. Interchange: 15. Mitchell Dunn 16. Ross Bella 17. Jack Lote 18. Duarne Dempsey.

Roosters NYC: 1. Jake Steadman 2. Bernard Lewis 3. Joseph Manu 4. Kiah Cooper 5. Johnny Tuivasa-Sheck 6. Connor Watson 7. Jesse Marschke 8. Poasa Faamausili 9. Grant Garvey 10. Shaquai Mitchell 11. Reuben Porter 12. Ryan King 13. Nat Butcher. Interchange: 15. Jarred Anderson 16. Ben Thomas 17. Luke Chalker 19. Bayley Faull.

KEY FACTS

The young Cowboys were cruelled by injury last week following the side’s impressive 34-12 win over the Eels at Pirtek Stadium.

Promising hooker Reuben Cotter’s season looks over after he did his ACL and had surgery this week.

Centre Bacho Salam has an ankle complaint and will miss a couple of games, while Brandon Smith will play after copping a heavy knock against Parramatta and going through the concussion protocols this week.

In-form winger Nathan Traill moves to the centres today following the return of Gideon Gela-Mosby to the side.

Traill scored a double last weekend and was en route for a hat-trick before tripping up with the try line beckoning. The Cowboys were comfortably home by that point.

Ball handling and execution will be touchstones for Aaron Payne’s boys today after struggling in that area against the Eels.

Captain Coen Hess and winger Marcus Jensen also posted tries with Jensen now three tries from his first two NRL games.

COACH AARON PAYNE: “If an NYC side can figure out a way to sustain pressure in matches, they’ll be tough to beat.”