The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys host the Canterbury Bankstown-Bulldogs in a Sunday afternoon clash at Queensland Country Bank Stadium.
1. SUNDAY FUN
The Bulldogs clash marks the second Sunday clash in a row and third in three weeks for Todd Payten’s men. Once a rarity for the Cowboys, North Queensland has five Sunday games in 2021, including a Round 8 away battle with the Warriors.
2. UP FRONT
Coen Hess will start at prop for the first time in his seven-year NRL career on Sunday afternoon. Aside from 55 second-row appearances and 40 from the interchange, Hess has started four games at centre and two at lock, including last weekend’s victory over the Wests Tigers.
3. TAMING THE DOGS
The Cowboys have enjoyed a golden run against the Bulldogs in recent seasons. While North Queensland still trail 17-23 in the all-time standings, the Cowboys have won nine of the previous 12 clashes, including a 24-16 victory in Round 2 last season.
4. MAKING HALF A MARK
Sunday’s game will mark the third consecutive fixture Ben Hampton has started at halfback, a feat he hasn’t accomplished since 2015. The 29-year-old has long had a desire to establish himself as a half and has impressed since being handed the No.7 jersey by Todd Payten prior to Round 4.
5. NEXT GENERATION
Cowboys fans wanting a glimpse of the future should amend their schedules to arrive at Queensland Country Bank Stadium a little earlier on Sunday. Townsville Blackhawks and the Northern Pride, who are both Cowboys feeder clubs, will battle in an under 21s fixture at 1.30pm as a curtain-raiser to the main game. Cowboys contracted players Jake Bourke, Tyson Chase and Jordan Lipp will line up for the Blackhawks, while Jack Bowyer, Braythen Porter, and Matua Robinson have been named for the Pride.