The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys host the Canberra Raiders at 1300SMILES Stadium on Saturday, with the Round 4 clash set down for a 4.30pm kick-off.
1. HAPPY HUNTING GROUND
The Cowboys have dominated the Raiders in North Queensland over the past 15 seasons. Canberra’s 18-8 triumph in Round 8 last season was the Green Machine’s first victory at 1300SMILES Stadium in 13 seasons. The Cowboys have won 10 of the last 12 clashes between the two in North Queensland stretching back to 2005. The overall head to head total tilts in Canberra’s favour, who have won 23 of the 43 meetings between the two sides.
2. STICKING STRONG
Cowboys head coach Paul Green has named an unchanged 21-man squad for the Raiders clash, saying he wanted to give the side who fell to Cronulla in Round 3 a chance to hit back. Te Maire Martin remains at fullback, with Jordan Kahu and Ben Hampton continuing in the centres as do Jake Clifford and Josh McGuire at five-eighth and lock respectively.
3. STAYING HOME
The Raiders clash is the middle game of a three-week homestand for the Cowboys. After falling to the Sharks last weekend, Green’s men will be looking to bounce back strongly against Ricky Stuart’s Raiders outfit. The homestand finishes with a blockbuster Friday-night showdown with Melbourne in Round 5, with the side then departing Queensland for the first time this season for a clash with the Warriors in Auckland.
4. BIG BOY BATTLE
Two of rugby league’s biggest wingers will lock horns at 1300SMILES Stadium on Saturday night. Cowboys winger Nene Macdonald has been strong in his first three games for his new club and will line up on the right flank opposite Raiders wrecking ball Nick Cotric. Macdonald is averaging 119 running metres per game, with Cotric averaging 97 metres an outing.
5. CLUB MILESTONE
Twenty-five seasons after entering the premiership, the Cowboys celebrate their 600th game this weekend.