Thrilled to make his National Rugby League debut last week against the Sharks, North Queensland Toyota Cowboys back-rower Shane Wright is keen to back that performance up with a strong showing in Sydney on Friday.

The Cowboys travel to Campbelltown Stadium for a crucial Round 25 clash with the Wests Tigers, knowing that a win will all but seal the club a seventh consecutive finals appearance with just a final-round home game – against the Broncos on a Thursday night – remaining in the regular season.

Airlie Beach junior Wright, 21, wants to be there to experience it all, and is loving his footy following what’s been a challenging year.

Linking up with the Cowboys in the off-season after time in the Gold Coast Titans’ under-20s program, Wright suffered an early setback when he broke his jaw in the Cowboys’ pre-season trial match against the Roosters in Mackay.

Recovered and playing good footy for the Mackay Cutters in the Queensland Cup, the young athlete cruelly broke his jaw again in a match and had another lengthy spell on the sidelines.

“Yeah, it’s been a trying year with injuries, but I’ve kept positive and worked hard and it’s unreal to be playing NRL,” Wright said.

“I grew up with the Cowboys as my team, so it’s unreal that I’ve now got a chance to play with them.

“It’s a dream come true and I look forward to doing what I can to help us on Friday night.”

Wright played 46 minutes in his debut, running for 80m from seven carries and making 20 tackles.

He has been named to come off the bench against the Tigers, alongside Patrick Mago, John Asiata and Shaun Fensom, who is returning from a knee injury.