The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys travel to Brisbane to take on the Broncos in a season-ending XXXX Derby clash.
1. NIGHT OF FAREWELLS
The Cowboys will say goodbye to three club stalwarts on Thursday night. Life member Gavin Cooper will make his 247th and final appearance for the Cowboys, which will elevate him to fourth-most in club history. Premiership-winning forward John Asiata will also depart the club after appearing in 128 games across seven seasons. Interim head coach Josh Hannay announced this week he would leave the club following the Broncos game. Hannay appeared in 150 games for the club as a player and has been a member of the coaching staff since 2017.
2. BIG GUNS RETURN
Representative forwards Josh McGuire and Asiata return from suspension for the Broncos showdown after missing last weekend’s home finale. Jason Taumalolo also returns to the starting side after a successful comeback from a calf injury against Penrith.
3. CENTRE SWAP
Rookie centre Daejarn Asi has been ruled out of the XXXX Derby with a knee injury, with veteran Justin O’Neill set to return to the side. O’Neill has scored nine times in 16 previous XXXX Derby showdowns with Brisbane, which marks his most tries against any side across a 183-game career.
4. FORM REVERSAL
North Queensland will be searching for their first XXXX Derby victory in more than two years on Thursday night. The Broncos have won the previous three encounters, with the Cowboys most recent triumph coming in Round 22 of the 2018 season.
5. BIG OCCASION
Thursday’s fixture will mark the first XXXX Derby for four young Cowboys. Murray Taulagi, Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow, Reuben Cotter and Tom Gilbert will all receive their first taste of one of rugby league’s fiercest rivalries.