The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys host Queensland rivals the Gold Coast Titans on Sunday afternoon in the first XXXX Derby of the 2021 season.
1. AFTERNOON SUN
Sunday’s meeting with the Titans marks a rare Sunday home fixture for North Queensland. The Cowboys only hosted one Sunday home game in 2020 – a Round 17 golden point victory over St George Illawarra in Round 17. North Queensland’s next home game also falls on a Sunday against the Bulldogs in Round 6.
2. HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE
The Cowboys own an eight-game winning streak against the Titans in North Queensland, with the last loss coming in the season opener of the 2012 season. North Queensland holds a 10-3 record in home games against the Titans and 16-9 in the overall match-up.
3. CAPTAIN MACCA
Prop Jordan McLean will lead the side in the absence of co-captains Michael Morgan and Jason Taumalolo. Morgan is sidelined with a shoulder injury, while Taumalolo continues to rehab a hand fracture suffered at training last week. McLean has captained the Cowboys on a number of occasions in the absence of Morgan over the previous two seasons.
4. MUZ RETURNS
Young gun Murray Taulagi has been called in for his season debut, replacing suspended winger Kyle Feldt. Taulagi impressed for Mackay in Round 1 of the Queensland Cup last weekend, registering 123 running metres and four tackle breaks.
5. LOCKED DOWN
Reuben Cotter continues at lock in Round 3 after a terrific performance deputising for the injured Jason Taumalolo in Round 2. Cotter was recognised as a dummy-half heading into the 2021 season, but was switched to lock by Todd Payten for the Broncos trial and has been one of the Cowboys’ best each week.