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Patience looks like paying off for young North Queensland Toyota Cowboys half Kyle Laybutt as it’s third time lucky for the Bundaberg product to make his National Rugby League debut.

Twice Laybutt has been in the frame to play, but twice he’s just missed out, the latest occurrence when co-captain Johnathan Thurston was ruled fit to play against the Parramatta Eels in Darwin.

Laybutt travelled to the Top End preparing as if to play, but said he wasn’t disappointed that he missed out then, the delay only adding to the excitement of his looming debut against the Storm in Melbourne on Saturday night.

With Thurston in Origin camp for the Queensland Maroons – alongside Michael Morgan, Gavin Cooper and Coen Hess – the time is right for the former Cowboys under-20s playmaker to take the next step.

“I’m patient I guess,” Laybutt said of his two false starts, the first coming ahead of the Round 7 match against the Dragons when he was coming back from a knee injury.

“That first time (with Thurston injured) against the Dragons, I was coming back from several weeks off with a knee injury and hadn’t played any footy for a while, so that would’ve been a big ask and I can understand why they went with Johnny (Asiata) at five-eighth, and he did a great job.

“The second time, I was probably more a chance of playing, and I prepared as if I was … I was confident my chance to play NRL would come and I’m so glad it has.”

Laybutt will partner veteran Ray Thompson in the halves, where they will face young Melbourne duo Ryley Jacks and Cameron Munster.

Acknowledgement of Country

North Queensland Cowboys respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.