Injuries and rep selections have forced coach Aaron Payne into a host of changes as his side prepares for Saturday’s National Youth Competition match against the young Titans on the Gold Coast.

The match is a make-up fixture for the Round 4 encounter between the sides, the original contest postponed due to flight delays for the Cowboys.

Looking to bounce back after a heavy defeat to the Eels in Round 9, the Cowboys side heads into this “Round 4” match keen to re-establish themselves in the top two of the competition. Payne’s team is currently fourth on the NYC ladder with six wins from eight matches, while the 4-4 Titans are in 12th spot.

With incumbent halfback Jake Clifford out for a few weeks with a groin strain, experienced back Nathan Traill will look to provide a steadying influence in the halves alongside skipper Mitch Dunn. Traill’s fullback spot will be taken by in-form flyer Michael Carroll, with Marshall Hudson returning to the side on the wing.

Backrower Cody Maughan shifts to the centres in place of Junior Kangaroo Enari Tuala, who is one of three young Cowboys set to play in Friday’s Anzac Test curtain-raiser. Facing off against Tuala in Canberra on Friday will be Cowboys teammates and Junior Kiwis Kaleb Fuimaono and Emry Pere, who will also be missing from Saturday’s NYC match. Also out is young prop Peter Hola, who has a broken hand.

Connor Luhan and Corey Horsburgh will start in the front row on Saturday, while hooker Calum Gahan, lock Duarne Dempsey and backrowers Ryan Lloyd and Hiale Roycroft round out the forward pack.

Kyle Paterson, Jack Glossop and Jayden Stephens will be joined on the interchange bench by 17-year-old Logan Bayliss-Brown, who is set to make his NYC debut.

The game at Ned Byrne Field, Cudgen, kicks off at 2.30pm.

North Queensland Cowboys NYC team:

1. Michael Carroll
2. Marshall Hudson
3. Cody Maughan
4. Kurt Wiltshire
5. Murray Taulagi
6. Mitch Dunn ©
7. Nathan Traill
8. Corey Horsburgh
9. Calum Gahan
10. Connor Luhan
11. Ryan Lloyd
12. Hiale Roycroft
13. Duarne Dempsey

Interchange:

14. Kyle Paterson
15. Jack Glossop
16. Logan Bayliss-Brown
17. Jayden Stephens

Reserves:

18. Peter Hola
19. Sam Murphy
20. Nathan Barrett
21. Jack Althaus
22. Oscar Carter
23. Tom Kenny