North Queensland Toyota Cowboys head coach Paul Green has named young gun Enari Tuala to make his first NRL appearance for 2019 in Friday night’s showdown with the Melbourne Storm at 1300SMILES Stadium.
A 2018 Junior Kangaroos representative, Tuala has been named in the centres to face the Storm with Ben Hampton moving to the wing and Javid Bowen dropping out of the squad.
The 20-year-old has started the season strongly for the Northern Pride in the Queensland Cup, averaging 131 running metres and five tackles busts a game.
Hampton’s shift to the wing marks the sixth different position in which he will have started an NRL game, alongside fullback, centre, five-eighth, halfback and hooker.
New recruit Kurt Baptiste makes his first appearance in Green’s 21-man squad after missing the start of the season with a hamstring injury. Baptiste returned to action with the Northern Pride in Round 4.
The remainder of the squad remains the same with Te Maire Martin continuing at fullback and Michael Morgan and Jake Clifford in the halves.
Josh McGuire also continues at lock in the absence of Jason Taumalolo.
Middle forwards John Asiata, Corey Jensen and Francis Molo are joined on the interchange by utility Mitch Dunn.
Second-rower Shane Wright, centre Justin O’Neill, Baptiste and middle forward Peter Hola make up the reserves.
Friday’s game kicks off at 7.55pm.
Cowboys team to play Storm:
3. Jordan Kahu
4. Enari Tuala
5. Ben Hampton
8. Matt Scott
10. Jordan McLean
11. Gavin Cooper
12. Coen Hess
13. Josh McGuire
14. John Asiata
15. Corey Jensen
16. Mitch Dunn
17. Francis Molo
18. Shane Wright
19. Justin O’Neill
20. Kurt Baptiste
21. Peter Hola