The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys host the Melbourne Storm at 1300SMILES Stadium in a prime-time Friday night showdown.
1. BUCKING THE TREND
The Cowboys have won two of the last five clashes between the two sides at 1300SMILES Stadium, but the honours in the last three clashes have gone to Melbourne. Paul Green’s men need to look no further than the last meeting in North Queensland between the two sides for motivation. The Cowboys were desperately unlucky in the final minutes of a 7-6 loss, with a Michael Morgan try disallowed.
2. MACKAY MEMORIES
Trial game form is always difficult to assess, but the Cowboys can take some solace from a 14-6 pre-season triumph over the Storm in Mackay. Gavin Cooper, Justin O’Neill and Ben Hampton scored tries for the Cowboys, but it was their defensive effort which was most impressive. Melbourne managed just the one try, which came from a Cameron Munster grubber close the goal line that was swooped on by Storm fullback Scott Drinkwater.
3. CENTRE OF ATTENTION
Green has drafted boom centre Enari Tuala into his side for the Storm clash, with Ben Hampton moving to the wing and Javid Bowen dropping out of the side. Tuala has started the season in sensational form for Cowboys feeder club the Northern Pride in the Queensland Cup. The 20-year-old has run for at least 100 metres in four of his five outings for the Pride, including a monster 209-metre, nine tackle break performance in a loss to Ipswich in Round 4.
4. RAISING THE BAT
Cowboys centre Jordan Kahu makes his 100th NRL appearance on Friday night. It’s a milestone Kahu never thought he would reach after undergoing multiple knee reconstructions and countless other injuries including a sickening broken jaw playing against the Cowboys for the Broncos in Round 2 last season.
5. LEAVING HOME
The Storm clash will be the last of a three-game homestand for the Cowboys after previous clashes with the Sharks and Raiders. Following the Storm fixture the Cowboys will travel to Auckland to tackle the Warriors in Round 6, which marks their first trip outside of Queensland in 2019, and then to Sydney to take on the Bulldogs in Round 7.