5 things you need to know: Cowboys v Dragons

The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys host the high-flying St George Illawarra Dragons at 1300SMILES Stadium on Saturday evening.

1. BRAGGING RIGHTS

The Cowboys hold the slenderest 15-14 lead in the head to head match ups between the two sides since St George and Illawarra merged prior to the 1999 season.

While both sides have produced dominant runs, neither club has managed to break free and claim a clear lead in the head to head battle.

After the Dragons won the opening two meetings, the Cowboys won four of the next six before losing the next three.

The last four showdowns have been split two apiece, with the Dragons winning the last meeting 28-22 in Round 7 last season.

2. UNFAMILIAR TERRITORY

The Dragons are rare visitors to North Queensland.

The Paul McGregor-coached side have played at 1300SMILES Stadium just four times in the last decade and just once since the start of the 2013 season.

The Dragons won't have many happy memories from their most recent visits either with the joint-venture only scoring six points in their previous two matches in Townsville.

3. O'NEILL RETURNS

Former Kangaroos centre Justin O'Neill has been recalled from the Queensland Cup by Cowboys head coach Paul Green for the Dragons clash.

O'Neill hasn't featured in the top grade since the Round 14 loss to the Eels, but has put together three strong performances for the Townsville Blackhawks to earn himself another crack at the NRL.

O'Neill will replace Antonio Winterstein on the left wing.

4. SCOTT SIDELINED

Matt Scott will miss his fourth consecutive game with the Cowboys co-captain continuing to battle a neck injury.

Scott is joined on the injured-list by fellow first-choice prop Jordan McLean who continues to rehab a foot injury suffered against Penrith in Round 4.

Young second-rower Shane Wright will also miss Saturday night's game after sustaining a hamstring injury against Canberra last weekend.

5. MILESTONE APPROACHING

The Round 18 loss to the Raiders means the Cowboys are still searching for club win number 250.

A victory over the Dragons on Saturday night would see North Queensland reach the mark.