Both teams will be keen to open their account for 2021 after coming off losses in the opening round.
The Cowboys return to Townsville after they were held to zero by the Panthers in Penrith last Saturday while the Dragons were competitive against Cronulla on Sunday but fell away in the second half at Kogarah.
North Queensland were hit with a major blow during the week with star lock Jason Taumalolo sidelined for at least a month with a broken hand.
North Queensland and St George Illawarra are both in the early stages of the start of a new coaching reign with Todd Payten and Anthony Griffin respectively looking to put their own stamp on their side after disappointing 2020 campaigns.
Cowboys v Dragons
Match: Cowboys v Dragons
Round 2 -
Venue: Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Townsville
Cowboys: Lachlan Burr replaces Taumalolo (broken hand) this week for his North Queensland debut, having followed coach Todd Payten to Townsville from the Warriors. Reuben Cotter starts at lock with Burr joining the interchange.
Shane Wright and Ben Hampton are the final cuts one hour from kickoff. Taumalolo and Murray Taulagi were the players omitted from the squad 24 hours out.
Val Holmes had little impact on the wing but remains there in round two with Scott Drinkwater staying at fullback.
Dragons: The visitors will start 1-17 with Kaide Ellis and Jackson Ford the final omissions.
Winger Cody Ramsey limped off with an ankle injury against Cronulla but will face the Cowboys after getting through the captain's run in Townsville on Friday with no issue.
No other injury worries but plenty for new coach Anthony Griffin to ponder with a shortage of points and some worrying defensive lapses.
Corey Norman is back in the team after a one-match suspension. The rest of the 17 remains the same.
Adam Clune and Jordan Pereira were the players to make way on Friday night.
The Dragons won only three from 10 away from home in 2020.
Fullback for Cowboys is number 1 Scott DrinkwaterFullback for Dragons is number 1 Matt Dufty
Winger for Cowboys is number 2 Kyle FeldtWinger for Dragons is number 2 Cody Ramsey
Centre for Cowboys is number 3 Esan MarstersCentre for Dragons is number 3 Jack Bird
Centre for Cowboys is number 4 Hamiso Tabuai-FidowCentre for Dragons is number 4 Zac Lomax
Winger for Cowboys is number 5 Valentine HolmesWinger for Dragons is number 5 Mikaele Ravalawa
Five-Eighth for Cowboys is number 6 Michael MorganFive-Eighth for Dragons is number 6 Corey Norman
Halfback for Cowboys is number 7 Jake CliffordHalfback for Dragons is number 7 Ben Hunt
Prop for Cowboys is number 8 Francis MoloProp for Dragons is number 8 Blake Lawrie
Hooker for Cowboys is number 9 Reece RobsonHooker for Dragons is number 9 Andrew McCullough
Prop for Cowboys is number 10 Jordan McLeanProp for Dragons is number 10 Paul Vaughan
2nd Row for Cowboys is number 11 Mitchell Dunn2nd Row for Dragons is number 11 Josh Kerr
2nd Row for Cowboys is number 12 Coen Hess2nd Row for Dragons is number 12 Tariq Sims
Lock for Cowboys is number 17 Reuben CotterLock for Dragons is number 13 Tyrell Fuimaono
Interchange for Cowboys is number 14 Jake GranvilleInterchange for Dragons is number 14 Poasa Faamausili
Interchange for Cowboys is number 15 Josh McGuireInterchange for Dragons is number 15 Trent Merrin
Interchange for Cowboys is number 16 Corey JensenInterchange for Dragons is number 16 Daniel Alvaro
Interchange for Cowboys is number 18 Lachlan BurrInterchange for Dragons is number 17 Brayden Wiliame
- Referee: Ben Cummins
- Touch Judge: Drew Oultram
- Senior Review Official: Steve Chiddy
Jordan McLean v Paul Vaughan: This pair have both played Test football, and their clubs would like nothing more than to see that form return.
Both boast the right combination of size and agility. The winner of this battle will have their team playing off the front foot.
These teams have new coaches this season and it could bring a new approach to second-phase play after they finished last and second last for offloads in 2020.
The Cowboys made 7.9 offloads per game last year, better than only the Dragons (7.8) and well below the league-leading Eels (13.8). With only five last week, North Queensland aren't likely to change tack too much this season.
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