The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys host the Canberra Raiders in an Indigenous Round clash at Queensland Country Bank Stadium – home of the Wulgurukaba People – on Saturday night.
1. ASI OUT, PERE IN
Teenage five-eighth Daejarn Asi is a late withdrawal from Josh Hannay’s side after succumbing to a knee injury sustained in last weekend’s showdown with Manly. The NRL granted an exemption for Emry Pere to be added to the Cowboys’ 21-man squad.
2. RETURN OF THE MAC
Vice-captain Jordan McLean and fellow middle forward John Asiata will make long-awaited returns from injury against the Raiders. McLean has been on the sidelines with a calf injury since Round 7, while Asiata hasn’t taken the field since Round 4. McLean has been named to start in the front row, while Asiata will come off the bench.
3. WINGING IT
Young gun Murray Taulagi holds his spot on the left wing after an impressive 2020 season debut last weekend. Taulagi ran for 154 metres from 16 carries and came close to scoring a crucial try in the closing stages of the match.
4. ON THE ROAD
Following Saturday night’s match, the Cowboys will play at home just once in the next month. Josh Hannay’s men stay in Queensland to battle the Titans next week before returning home for a meeting with the Rabbitohs, which will be followed by away trips to Newcastle and Cronulla.
5. LONG HISTORY
North Queensland have only played Brisbane and Cronulla more time in their 25-year history than the Raiders. In 43 clashes with the Green Machine, the Cowboys trail 24-19 in the head to head battle. The record in North Queensland makes for prettier reading for the home team, with the Cowboys winning 12 of the 21 fixtures.