North Queensland Toyota Cowboys head coach Paul Green has named his team for Saturday’s pre-season trial against the Sydney Roosters in Mackay.
The 23-man squad to contest the game at BB Print Stadium includes a host of experienced National Rugby League campaigners, led by team co-captain Matt Scott and fellow veteran prop Scott Bolton.
The duo head a young Cowboys forward pack which includes reigning Dally M Medallist Jason Taumalalo, Coen Hess, Patrick Kaufusi, Braden Uele, train-and-triallist Will Budgen and new recruits Shane Wright and Corey Jensen.
For Uele and 2015 NRL Premiership winner John Asiata, the match will be a homecoming of sorts, with both men playing for the Mackay Cutters when on Intrust Super Cup duties.
The Cutters host an under-20s Cowboys team in the curtain-raiser.
Bolton and Scott will have their first hit-out of 2017 after not playing in the weekend’s NRL Auckland Nines tournament, while Taumalolo backs up from a strong showing in the Cowboys’ run to the quarter-finals in the popular pre-season event.
Forward Sam Hoare will play his first footy in nearly a year after coming back from a knee injury.
Also suiting up for the first time this year will be fullback Lachlan Coote and winger Antonio Winterstein, both men senior figures in an NQ backline featuring youngsters Kalyn Ponga, Gideon Gela-Mosby, Javid Bowen and Kyle Laybutt.
Former Cowboys NYC halfback and current main squad triallist Cooper Bambling will give Mackay fans a sneak peek of his talents before linking with the Cutters this year, while Ponga is set to be a fan favourite given he and his family lived in Mackay for a period.
Saturday night’s game will be preceded by a host of player appearances later in the week, including an open training session on Friday afternoon.
Saturday 11 February
BB Print Stadium, Mackay
4pm: Gates open
4.45pm: Mackay Cutters v North Queensland Cowboys NYC (trial)
7pm: North Queensland Cowboys v Sydney Roosters (trial)
Cowboys NRL: John Asiata, Cooper Bambling, Scott Bolton, Javid Bowen, Will Bugden, Lachlan Coote, Gideon Gela-Mosby, Ben Hampton, Coen Hess, Sam Hoare, Corey Jensen, Patrick Kaufusi, Kyle Laybutt, Blake Leary, Ethan Lowe, Kalyn Ponga, Matt Scott, Ben Spina, Jason Taumalolo, Ray Thompson, Braden Uele, Antonio Winterstein, Shane Wright.
Cowboys NYC: Nathan Barrett, Michael Carroll, Oscar Carter, Jake Clifford, Duarne Dempsey, Mitch Dunn, Kaleb Fuimaono, Calum Gaham, Corey Horsburgh, Marshall Hudson, Ryan Lloyd, Jack Lote, Conor Luhan, Cody Maughan, Emry Pere, Hiale Roycroft, Bacho Salam, Jayden Stephens, Nathan Traill, Enari Tuala, Kurt Wiltshire.
Mackay Cutters: Blake Atherton, Jack Blagbrough, Yamba Bowie, Nick Brown, Andrew Davey, Jake Eden, Johnny Faletagoa’i, Alex Farrell, Tyler Gardiner, Jayden Hodges, Nicho Hynes, Jack Joass, Yosepha Kepa, Gareth Moore, Jordan Pereira, Jacob Pottinger, Isaac Richardson, Nathan Saumalu, Jacob Schill.