5 things you need to know: Round 17

The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys will make a rare trip to the Central Coast this weekend to battle reigning premiers the Sydney Roosters.

1. MILESTONE MAN

Cowboys second-rower Gavin Cooper will become just the 37th player in premiership history to appear in 300 top grade games. Cooper will be only the second player to celebrate the landmark occasion as a Cowboy, following close mate Johnathan Thurston who reached 300 games in 2018. Cooper has appeared in the fifth most games in club history and ranks seventh with 70 tries.

2. UNFAMILIAR TERRITORY

Sunday’s clash with the Roosters will only be the Cowboys’ eighth visit to the Central Coast. In seven previous fixtures North Queensland have won two, drawn one and lost four. Their most recent venture to the Central Coast was a 26-21 loss to Manly in 2014 with Brent Tate scoring a double for the Cowboys. The Cowboys and Roosters have met in the Central Coast on one previous occasion, with the Chooks claiming a 32-22 victory in 2004.

3. WELCOME BACK THUMPER

Veteran Cowboys prop Matt Scott has been named to make his return from injury against the Roosters. Scott has been on the sidelines since suffering a shoulder injury in Round 11. The 33-year-old has been named to return from the interchange, which would be just Scott’s second start from the bench in nine years. Coen Hess is also a chance to return from injury after being named on the reserves

4. SHUFFLING THE DECK

Cowboys head coach Paul Green will need to find a new five-eighth with skipper Michael Morgan unavailable after suffering a concussion playing for Queensland on Wednesday night. Jordan McLean will captain the side in Morgan’s absence.

5. HOMECOMING

While Cooper will celebrate his milestone game, fullback Scott Drinkwater might be the most popular Cowboy on Central Coast on Sunday afternoon. Drinkwater grew up just 30km from Central Coast Stadium in Terrigal and is set to have a huge legion of friends and family at the ground.