After a thrilling six-point win over the Gold Coast Titans in their opening trial of the season, the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys take on the Melbourne Storm in Mackay on Saturday evening in what will be their final dress rehearsal before their NRL campaign begins on March 16.
Mackay has historically been home to a huge Cowboys supporter base and with tickets already sold out for the BB Print Stadium clash, Paul Green’s men are expecting a bumper atmosphere on Saturday night.
A number of big-name Cowboys will play their first games of 2019 including halfback Michael Morgan.
Morgan sat out the Titans trial but will make his long-awaited return from a bicep injury which ended his 2018 season.
The 27-year-old will be joined in the halves by Te Maire Martin with young gun Jake Clifford named on the interchange.
Less than two weeks after joining the club, fullback Jordan Kahu will don Cowboys colours for the first time as will fellow star recruit Josh McGuire.
Green pulled a selection shock, naming McGuire at lock with long-time Cowboys No.13 Jason Taumalolo to start the game in the second row.
Taumalolo will be joined in the second row by Coen Hess who will also make his first appearance of 2019.
Fresh off signing a three-year contract extension in the off-season, Hess has indicated a desire to start 2019 with a bang.
Francis Molo comes on to the interchange as a late replacement for Scott Bolton.
Molo was impressive against the Titans and will look to continue to push his case for a spot on the bench in Green’s Round 1 side.
Queensland second-rower Gavin Cooper will be eased into action from the interchange after battling a couple of minor injury complaints during the pre-season.
Molo and Cooper are joined on the interchange by forwards John Asiata and Mitch Dunn, Clifford and centre Tom Opacic.
Saturday’s trial will again see no restrictions on the number of interchanges.
Fans will be able to watch a stream of this match LIVE on Cowboys.com.au from 6:45pm (Qld).
Kick off is at 7pm.