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Five things to know: Round 8 v Warriors

The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys travel south to take on the Warriors in a Sunday afternoon clash at Central Coast Stadium.

1. HE’S BACK!

After missing all but the season opener through two separate hand fractures, Cowboys skipper Jason Taumalolo returns to action on Sunday. Taumalolo fractured his right hand in the lead up to Round 2, before suffering the same injury on the opposite hand prior to the victory over the Bulldogs. The 27-year-old will don his usual No.13 jersey, with Lachlan Burr moving back to the bench.

2. ON A RUN

North Queensland will shoot for four straight victories this weekend, a feat the club hasn’t achieved since Round 20 of the 2017 season, when coincidentally, the Cowboys toppled the Warriors 24-12 at 1300SMILES Stadium. Led by Gavin Cooper in the absence of Johnathan Thurston and Matt Scott, Javid Bowen scored a double, with Ethan Lowe and Justin O’Neill also crossing.

3. SQUARE UP

A victory over the Warriors would also level the overall head-to-head ledger at 21-apiece. The Cowboys have won five of the previous eight outings against the Warriors, although it was the Kiwi outfit who claimed bragging rights in the most recent fixture – a 37-26 triumph in Round 5 last season.

4. COASTING IT

North Queensland have enjoyed mixed results in Gosford. In nine games on the Central Coast, the Cowboys have won three, lost five and had a draw. The most memorable Cowboys victory came in 2019 – a 15-12 upset of reigning premiers the Roosters in Gavin Cooper’s 300th NRL game. Entering as heavy underdogs, North Queensland sealed victory with a late Jake Clifford field goal.

5. CONTINUITY

With prop Jordan McLean overcoming a hamstring tear, Todd Payten has been able to field an almost identical side to the one who claimed a comeback victory over the Raiders in Round 7. Jason Taumalolo returns for Mitch Dunn, who accepted a one-match suspension for a grade one crusher tackle. Burr returns to the interchange to make way for Taumalolo to start at lock.