North Queensland Toyota Cowboys coach Paul Green will welcome two-time premiership winner Justin O’Neill back into his team for tonight’s Week 2 National Rugby League finals match against the Parramatta Eels at ANZ Stadium.
The 26-year-old centre has missed the past four matches for the Cowboys after hyperextending and dislocating his elbow in the team’s Round 23 loss to the Penrith Panthers at Pepper Stadium.
But after being named in the team’s extended squad this week, O’Neill got the green light to play and will take his place in the starting team, with Javid Bowen moving out of the side. Bowen has performed well in O’Neill’s absence, the young Hope Vale product lining up for the team 13 times this season, scoring three tries.
In the only other change to Green’s line-up, middle forward Shaun Fensom moves into the starting side with John Asiata to start from the interchange bench, joined by Coen Hess, Corey Jensen and utility Ben Hampton.
Gavin Cooper will resume his role as captain.
The game kicks off at 7.40pm with the winner advancing to a preliminary final showdown with the Sydney Roosters.
North Queensland Toyota Cowboys v Cronulla Sharks
Semi-Final, 2017 NRL Telstra Premiership Finals Series
7.40pm, Saturday 16 September, ANZ Stadium
1. Lachlan Coote
2. Kyle Feldt
19. Justin O’Neill
4. Kane Linnett
5. Antonio Winterstein
6. Te Maire Martin
7. Michael Morgan
17. Shaun Fensom
9. Jake Granville
10. Scott Bolton
11. Gavin Cooper (c)
12. Ethan Lowe
13. Jason Taumalolo
8. John Asiata
14. Ben Hampton
15. Coen Hess
16. Corey Jensen