North Queensland Toyota Cowboys under-20s coach Aaron Payne has made several personnel and positional changes to his team ahead of Sunday’s Round 23 National Youth Competition clash against the Roosters at Allianz Stadium.
The winner of Sunday’s clash will be in outright second spot on the NYC ladder as both teams look to rebound from last-start losses.
The second-placed Cowboys (31 points from 13 wins, six losses, one draw, two byes) are just one point ahead of the third-ranked Roosters (30 points from 13 wins, seven losses, two byes) with just four regular-season games remaining.
Payne’s men were well beaten on Sunday – 36-12 at Leichhardt Oval at the hands of a feisty Tigers outfit – and will this weekend be looking to return to the form that had them undefeated from Round 8 through to Round 16.
Nathan Traill – a late inclusion in the side that played the Tigers – retains his spot, but will switch sides to replace the injured Michael Carroll (concussion) on the right edge.
Marcus Jensen returns from illness to take his place on the left wing.
Regular five-eighth Ty Carucci (hamstring) makes his return after several weeks on the sideline, with Jacob Bourke moving out of the 17.
Kalyn Ponga moves from five-eighth to halfback with regular No.7 Cooper Bambling still out with an ankle injury.
Back-rower Hiale Roycroft (concussion) also makes his return after being a late scratching for the Tigers game, pushing Corey Horsburgh back to a five-man bench, alongside Duarne Dempsey, Tahanui Tutavake, Kaleb Fuimaono and Nick Lui Toso.
North Queensland Toyota Cowboys NYC v Sydney Roosters NYC
1.45pm, Sunday 14 August, Allianz Stadium
1. Gideon Gela-Mosby
2. Nathan Traill
3. Bacho Salam
4. Enari Tuala
5. Marcus Jensen
6. Ty Carucci
7. Kalyn Ponga
8. Darryn Schonig
9. Brandon Smith (c)
10. Ross Bella
11. Cody Maughan
12. Hiale Roycroft
13. Emry Pere
14. Duarne Dempsey
15. Tahanui Tutavake
16. Kaleb Fuimaono
17. Nick Lui Toso
18. Corey Horsburgh
Coach: Aaron Payne