Coach Aaron Payne has made one additional change to his side ahead of today’s Round 16 National Youth Competition game between hosts the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys and the visiting Penrith Panthers.
Winger Murray Taulagi has been ruled out with a sternum injury sustained while playing for the Queensland Under-18s in Wednesday night’s State of Origin curtain-raiser.
In his stead, Marshall Hudson comes into the team on the wing.
That change follows Duarne Dempsey coming in for back-up hooker Kyle Paterson – Dempsey is joined on Payne’s four-man interchange bench by Peter Hola, Solomon Vasuvulagi and Connor Luhan, while prop Emry Pere has been stood down for disciplinary reasons.
Coach Payne said his side had bounced back quickly from last week’s heartbreaking loss to the Storm and were ready to right wrongs against the Panthers.
The Cowboys were well in control of the match in Melbourne, leading 14-0 at half-time before being overrun to lose 22-20.
Payne said, on review, his team had played a really strong game, hitting all their goals and KPIs, and took a lot of positives out of their performance, but were let down on a couple of occasions by not following team defensive rules.
“We were actually quite good, we were patient in attack, we got to the ends of our sets, we didn’t play that bad at all,” Payne said of last week's performance.
“Where we did let ourselves down was in defence a couple of times and trying to solve problems on our own, not as a team.”
Payne said the defence stuff had been looked at intensely all week and he was looking forward to putting improvement into practice.
Today’s game pits teams No.2 on the ladder – the Panthers - versus the Cowboys at No.5 and kicks off at 12.45pm at 1300SMILES Stadium.
NYC COWBOYS: 1. Kalyn Ponga, 2. Michael Carroll, 3. Nathan Traill, 4. Kurt Wiltshire, 19. Marshall Hudson, 6. Mitch Dunn (c), 7. Jake Clifford, 8. Kaleb Fuimaono, 9. Calum Gahan, 10. Jayden Stephens, 11. Cody Maughan, 12. Ryan Lloyd, 13. Corey Horsburgh. Interchange: 15. Peter Hola, 16. Solomon Vasuvulagi, 17. Connor Luhan, 18. Duarne Dempsey.