The Cowboys need to recapture the form of a few weeks back when they scored 90 points in three consecutive wins to show they could be a threat around finals time.
Perhaps following the advice of coach Todd Payten after last week's back-to-earth 30-16 loss to the Roosters in not showing too much respect to the opposition could help.
The fact the Knights are trying to climb out of a loss-in-confidence crisis might also help.
Newcastle coach Adam O'Brien has pleaded with his players to hang tough when the going gets rough in games if they are to avert a fifth loss in a row on Thursday night in Townsville.
The Cowboys are 3-2 at home so far this year, while the Knights have won three of their five away games. That makes for an anything-goes match result.
Match: Cowboys v Knights
Round 11 -
Venue: Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Townsville
Cowboys: Prop Coen Hess failed his HIA in the loss to the Roosters and will sit out this week's match due to the short turnaround.
Tom Gilbert comes into the starting side to replace Hess and the new face on the bench is 20-year-old back-rower Heilum Luki, who will make his NRL debut.
Daejarn Asi is the 18th man, with Corey Jensen dropping out of the playing squad on game day. Ben Condon and Kane Bradley were the first two players cut from the squad 24 hours before kick-off.
The Cowboys have won five of their past seven games against the Knights and their past three games at QCB Stadium.
Knights: Kurt Mann moves to fullback in a reshuffled Knights backline, with Simi Sasagi replacing Bradman Best (hamstring) in the centres and Blake Green returning at halfback for his first game since suffering a rib injury in round eight.
Winger Hymel Hunt has been sidelined by the recurrence of a hamstring injury and his place is taken by Brayden Musgrove.
Phoenix Crossland goes to five-eighth and Tex Hoy is the new 18th man with Josh King omitted an hour before kick-off.
Gehamat Shibasaki was omitted from the squad on Wednesday.
Gun fullback Kalyn Ponga missed Magic Round due to a hip injury and remains sidelined.
The Knights have not won in Townsville since 2015 and only one of their past 15 games in Queensland.
Fullback for Cowboys is number 1 Valentine HolmesFullback for Knights is number 6 Kurt Mann
Winger for Cowboys is number 2 Kyle FeldtWinger for Knights is number 2 Starford To'a
Centre for Cowboys is number 3 Javid BowenCentre for Knights is number 3 Enari Tuala
Centre for Cowboys is number 4 Connelly LemueluCentre for Knights is number 18 Simi Sasagi
Winger for Cowboys is number 5 Murray TaulagiWinger for Knights is number 5 Brayden Musgrove
Five-Eighth for Cowboys is number 6 Scott DrinkwaterFive-Eighth for Knights is number 7 Phoenix Crossland
Halfback for Cowboys is number 7 Jake CliffordHalfback for Knights is number 21 Blake Green
Prop for Cowboys is number 8 Tom GilbertProp for Knights is number 8 David Klemmer
Hooker for Cowboys is number 9 Reece RobsonHooker for Knights is number 9 Jayden Brailey
Prop for Cowboys is number 10 Jordan McLeanProp for Knights is number 10 Daniel Saifiti
2nd Row for Cowboys is number 11 Shane Wright2nd Row for Knights is number 11 Tyson Frizell
2nd Row for Cowboys is number 12 Mitchell Dunn2nd Row for Knights is number 12 Lachlan Fitzgibbon
Lock for Cowboys is number 13 Jason TaumaloloLock for Knights is number 13 Mitchell Barnett
Interchange for Cowboys is number 14 Jake GranvilleInterchange for Knights is number 14 Connor Watson
Interchange for Cowboys is number 15 Lachlan BurrInterchange for Knights is number 15 Jacob Saifiti
Interchange for Cowboys is number 16 Francis MoloInterchange for Knights is number 16 Sauaso Sue
Interchange for Cowboys is number 17 Heilum LukiInterchange for Knights is number 17 Brodie Jones
Reserve for Cowboys is number 19 Daejarn AsiReserve for Knights is number 1 Tex Hoy
- Referee: Ashley Klein
- Touch Judge: Wyatt Raymond
- Senior Review Official: Henry Perenara
Valentine Holmes v Tex Hoy: With Kalyn Ponga's visit to his old club in North Queensland postponed, Holmes will be able to make his case for usurping Ponga's Maroons jersey unchallenged while Hoy once again has the unenviable task of trying to replace the Knights star's production at fullback.
Statistically he has the job ahead of him in this match-up.
Newcastle's No.1 understudy has a try, two try assists, a line break and 11 tackle busts in five game against Holmes's two tries, five try assists, six line breaks and 44 tackle busts in 10 outings. He also averages 169 run metres to Hoy's 118.
Despite a drop in form lately, the Knights remain in the NRL's top five in offloads with 107 and have had to work the hardest in defence with 3718 tackles - the NRL's highest tally in that category.
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