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Five things to know: Round 9 v Broncos

The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys host the Brisbane Broncos on Saturday evening at Queensland Country Bank Stadium.

1. DERBY DAY

A fixture normally held in the opening rounds of the season, Cowboys fans have had to wait more than two months into the 2021 season for the first XXXX Derby against arch-rivals Brisbane. The Cowboys broke a three-match losing streak against Brisbane in the most recent XXXX Derby. In the final match of the 2020 season, the Cowboys produced a masterful display to topple the Broncos 32-16 at Suncorp Stadium.

2. HOME CROWD ADVANTAGE

An electric atmosphere awaits the Cowboys on Saturday night. As of Friday morning, almost 23,000 tickets have been sold, leaving around 2,000 available for the blockbuster XXXX Derby clash.

3. SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER

Boasting the widest travelling fan base in the NRL, the Cowboys have always preferred Saturday night home games. The Broncos clash is undoubtedly the biggest on the calendar for North Queensland fans, but they have been forced to wait seven years for the fixture to fall on a Saturday night. The last Saturday showdown between the two sides fell back in 2014, with the Cowboys claiming a 32-20 victory courtesy of a Gavin Cooper double and a perfect six goals from as many attempts by Johnathan Thurston.

4. WELCOME BACK

In one of the feel-good stories of the 2021 season, Javid Bowen has been recalled for his first game in the NRL in almost two years. The proud North Queensland product wasn’t offered a contract for the 2020 season, but Todd Payten brought Bowen back on a train and trial basis for the 2021 pre-season. Despite suffering a serious shoulder injury prior to Christmas, Bowen was offered a one-year contract for the 2021 season.

5. HOMESTAND

This weekend’s clash kicks of a stretch of three home games in four weeks for the Cowboys. Following the XXXX Derby, North Queensland travel to Brisbane for the Magic Round encounter with the Roosters, before returning home for back-to-back home games against the Knights and Warriors.