5 things you need to know: Round 8 v Titans

The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys host cross-state rivals the Gold Coast Titans at 1300SMILES Stadium on Friday night.

1. COMING HOME

After a tricky two weeks on the road, the Cowboys return to North Queensland for a crucial clash with the Titans. Paul Green’s men will have history on their side as well, with the Cowboys having dominated the clashes between the two sides in the north. In 11 matches at 1300SMILES Stadium since the Titans entered the competition in 2007, North Queensland have won eight, including the previous six stretching back to 2013.

2. CHANGES AT THE BACK

Jordan Kahu will return to fullback for the first time since Round 2, with Te Maire Martin on the sidelines after being diagnosed with a bleed on the brain during the week. With Martin out indefinitely, Kahu has a golden chance to secure an extended run in the No.1 jersey.

3. CENTRE OF ATTENTION

Fellow former Bronco Tom Opacic has fought his way back into the NRL side for his first outing since Round 2. The 24-year-old has been in fantastic form for the Townsville Blackhawks in the Queensland Cup and will partner Enari Tuala in the centres for the Cowboys on Friday night.

4. STARTING EARLY

The Cowboys’ Round 8 fixture is one of only two Friday night games in the earlier 6pm timeslot at 1300SMILES Stadium this year. Along with the Titans showdown, the Cowboys also take on Penrith in the same timeslot in Round 23. North Queensland have two away 6pm Friday games this season, including last weekend’s meeting with the Bulldogs and a Round 15 battle with the Dragons in Wollongong.

5. RUNNING MAN

Josh McGuire has been a revelation in his first season at the Cowboys. The 29-year-old has been one of the most damaging forwards in the NRL in 2019, leading the competition in post-contact metres with 452 through seven games, just ahead of Newcastle’s David Klemmer. ‘Moose’ also sits third in the NRL for run metres with 1221 at an average of 174 per game.