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In a series analysing who will line up in each position for all 16 teams in the opening round of the Telstra Premiership in 2020, NRL.com looks at the North Queensland Cowboys.

NRL.com says: Big-money recruit Valentine Holmes looks certain to start at fullback, which means Nines player of the tournament Scott Drinkwater likely replaces Jake Clifford in the halves for the start of the season. Reece Robson is a big chance of unseating Jake Granville. Former Tigers star Esan Marsters will start alongside Justin O'Neill in the centres with Paul Green contemplating a curve ball move of Ben Hampton on the wing. Josh McGuire isn't available for round one due to a suspension carried over from last season.

Jamie Soward says: I'd bring Tom Opacic in for Justin O'Neill and Murray Taulagi on the wing for Hampton. They've just really lacked spark in the backline and need some bigger, younger bodies there. Jake Clifford needs to partner Michael Morgan in the halves so unfortunately there's no spot for Drinkwater. Reece Robson will start so I can't find a spot for Granville. I've got Corey Jensen and Tom Gilbert in on the bench with Coen Hess out of the side.

NRL.com's predicted Cowboys round 1 team

  1. Valentine Holmes
  2. Kyle Feldt
  3. Esan Marsters
  4. Justin O'Neill
  5. Ben Hampton
  6. Scott Drinkwater
  7. Michael Morgan
  8. Jordan McLean
  9. Jake Granville
  10. John Asiata
  11. Gavin Cooper
  12. Shane Wright
  13. Jason Taumalolo

  14. Mitchell Dunn
  15. Coen Hess
  16. Reece Robson
  17. Francis Molo

Others: Jake Clifford, Reuben Cotter, Mitchell Dunn, Tom Gilbert, Peter Hola, Corey Jensen, Connelly Lemuelu, Josh McGuire, Tom Opacic, Emry Pere, Daniel Russell, Tukimihia Simpkins, Murray Taulagi