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Justin O’Neill has paid tribute to the key females in his life as the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys centre prepares for Saturday's important Round 20 NRL match against the Warriors in Townsville.

Part of the NRL’s Women in League Round, the fixture will be played against a backdrop of tribute to the contribution of women to the game of rugby league.

“My mother (Marie-Nicole) was always supportive of me in terms of my footy aspirations, and continues to be, and now my wife Chantelle continues to be that real rock for me,” said O’Neill, who was accompanied by baby daughter Giselle at this week’s media call.

“Rugby league can be an up-and-down sort of career so to have that constancy in your life from your partner or other family member is really valued and not to be taken for granted.”

Turning towards the game on Saturday, O’Neill said he expected the Warriors to step up in the absence of injured playmaker Shaun Johnson, the Cowboys having now won three games straight without their injured on-field leader Johnathan Thurston.

“They’ll lift for sure, Johnson’s a massive part of what they do, but they’ve got some great players across the park, and we’ll have to be on our guard on Saturday,” he said.

Cowboys v Warriors, Saturday 22 July
Gates open: 5pm
NYC: 5.10pm
NRL: 7.30pm

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.