North Queensland Toyota Cowboys head coach Paul Green will unveil a new halves pairing in Wollongong this Saturday as the Cowboys look for victory against the St George Illawarra Dragons minus their State of Origin contingent.
With a host of Cowboys stars away on Queensland and New South Wales State of Origin duty, Green has utility back Jahrome Hughes to make his Cowboys NRL debut, with the 21-year-old set to partner Ray Thompson in the halves.
Saturday night’s game will make almost three years since Hughes played in the NRL.
The New Zealand-born, Gold Coast-raised livewire played his one-and-only NRL game for the Titans against Penrith in Round 17, 2013.
Also set to play his second NRL game is Cowboys under-20s captain Coen Hess, who made his first-grade debut for the Cowboys in Round 24, 2015 against the Warriors, scoring a try in a 50-16 win.
Hess has been named on a new-look interchange bench alongside Rory Kostjasyn, John Asiata and Patrick Kaufusi, with Ben Hannant and Scott Bolton named as starting props in the absence of Origin platers Matt Scott (Queensland) and James Tamou (New South Wales).
Thompson will line up at halfback for his 99th NRL game and his first top-grade appearance in 2016, the Townsville product returning to the Intrust Super Cup in the past fortnight after a lengthy spell on the sidelines with a broken ankle.
Gavin Cooper will captain the side in the Origin-induced absence of Scott and Johnathan Thurston.
North Queensland Toyota Cowboys v St George Illawarra Dragons
Round 12, 2016 NRL Telstra Premiership
7.30pm, Saturday 28 May, WIN Stadium
1. Lachlan Coote
2. Kyle Feldt
3. Javid Bowen
4. Kane Linnett
5. Antonio Winterstein
6. Jahrome Hughes
7. Ray Thompson
8. Ben Hannant
9. Jake Granville
10. Scott Bolton
11. Gavin Cooper (c)
12. Ethan Lowe
13. Jason Taumalolo
14. Rory Kostjasyn
15. John Asiata
16. Coen Hess
17. Patrick Kaufusi
Coach: Paul Green