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Five things you need to know: Round 4 v Sharks

The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys host the Cronulla Sharks in a Round 4 showdown at Queensland Country Bank Stadium on Saturday night.

1. WELCOME TO THE BIG TIME

Teenage middle forward Tom Gilbert will make his NRL debut in Round 4. The 19-year-old joined the Cowboys at 15 and is in his second season as part of North Queensland’s NRL squad. Gilbert was named Queensland Cup Rookie of the Year and Lock of the Year in 2019.

2. COOPER COMEBACK

Cowboys life member and 300-gamer Gavin Cooper makes his return from injury against the Sharks. The 34-year-old strained a calf in the first week back at training after the Covid-19 enforced break and missed the victory over the Titans in Round 3. Cooper will start the match from the interchange.

3. FRONT-ROW FRANKIE

Francis Molo is set to make his first-ever NRL starting appearance. All of Molo’s previous 40 top-grade appearances have come from the interchange, but the injury to Jason Taumalolo sees Josh McGuire move to lock and Molo start in the front row alongside skipper Jordan McLean.

4. HAT-TRICK HUNTING

Paul Green’s side will be searching for their third successive victory in Round 4, a feat they have only achieved once in the previous two seasons. The Cowboys toppled Parramatta, Canberra and the Gold Coast in successive games in 2019 and have the opportunity to snare three straight wins on Saturday night after victories over the Bulldogs in Round 2 and the Titans in Round 3.

5. STORIED HISTORY

The Cowboys’ 48 clashes against the Sharks are their second-most against any side since entering the competition in 1995. Cronulla own a 30-18 advantage in the head to head match-up, including victories in both fixtures last season.