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Five things you need to know: Round 7 v Newcastle

The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys host the Newcastle Knights on Saturday afternoon at Queensland Country Bank Stadium.

1. DAYTIME COWBOYS

Saturday’s 3pm fixture is the Cowboys’ first home game in that timeslot for more than three years. Cowboys fans won’t soon forget the side’s most recent home Saturday afternoon appearance – a thrilling 14-12 victory over the Panthers in Round 16 of the 2017 season. In what was also club legend Gavin Cooper’s 250th NRL appearance, fill-in goal kicker Ethan Lowe slotted a sideline conversion in the dying seconds following a superb try to a leaping Kyle Feldt.

2. FANS IN THE STANDS

After being forced to watch from their lounge rooms since Round 2, Cowboys members, corporates and partners will be welcomed back to Queensland Country Bank Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Up to 2000 supporters are permitted to attend with the club hopeful of receiving approval to increase capacity in later rounds after a successful trial of this limited number of patrons.  

3. KNIGHTS IN THE NORTH

North Queensland have enjoyed a dominant run against Newcastle over the past decade. The Cowboys have won 10 of the previous 15 meetings between the two sides stretching back to 2010. Although Newcastle still hold a 20-18 lead in the all-time head to head matchup.

4. KEEPING FAITH

Paul Green has named the same starting 13 from the Round 6 loss to the Wests Tigers. Vice-captain Jordan McLean has been named on the reserves as he closes in on a return from a calf injury. Young gun Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow remains at fullback in the absence of Valentine Holmes, while last week’s debutante Connelly Lemuelu holds his spot on the left wing.

5. STATS MEN

A number of Cowboys are among the NRL leaders in different statistical areas through six rounds of the season. Kyle Feldt leads the NRL with eight tries, two in front of David Nofoaluma and Sione Katoa. Feldt has scored doubles in each of his previous three outings. Jason Taumalolo also leads the NRL with a monstrous 243 running metres per game, just in front of reigning Dally M Medalist James Tedesco. Taumalolo has run for at least 250 metres on three separate occasions in 2020, including a record-breaking 345 in Round 2. Centre Esan Marsters sits second in the NRL with 17 offloads through six games, one shy of competition leader Ryan Matterson.