The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys host the Brisbane Broncos at 1300SMILES Stadium on Thursday night in the second edition of the 2019 XXXX Derby.
1. MODERN DAY RIVALS
The NRL has a number of fierce rivals, but no two teams have captivated fans like the Cowboys and Broncos over the past decade. Since 2015, four games between the two sides have been decided by a solitary point, while another (2016 semi-final) was won in extra time by the Cowboys. The Broncos still hold a commanding 33-16 lead in the head to head match-up, although that figure is skewed through Brisbane going undefeated in the first 17 meetings between the two sides. North Queensland have won eight out of the last 14 XXXX Derbies, including a thrilling 34-30 victory the last time the two sides met at 1300SMILES Stadium.
2. FLYER RETURNS
Gideon Gela-Mosby is set for his first game in the top grade since Round 12. The 22-year-old broke his collar bone in a victory over the Titans and returned to action through the Queensland Cup with the Northern Pride in Round 18. Gela-Mosby has scored six tries in his 10 NRL appearances and will be looking to open his 2019 account on Thursday night.
3. THURSDAY NIGHT TREBLE
The Broncos clash is the final of a hat-trick of Thursday night games for the Cowboys after meetings with Cronulla and the Wests Tigers in Rounds 19 and 20. North Queensland have one Thursday night appearance remaining in 2019 – a Round 24 showdown with the Bulldogs – which will be the final ever Cowboys match at 1300SMILES Stadium.
4. QUICK LEARNER
Scott Drinkwater has been a revelation since arriving in North Queensland. The new Cowboys fullback is averaging 120 running metres and four tackle-breaks a game to go with three tries through his first five games with the club.
5. BRONCO TAMER
Cowboys skipper Michael Morgan has enjoyed playing the Broncos throughout his career. Aside from orchestrating the famous flick pass to Kyle Feldt in the 2015 grand final, Morgan has scored 11 tries in his 17 appearances against Brisbane, five more than he has scored against any other team.