The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys host the Newcastle Knights on Thursday night at Queensland Country Bank Stadium.
1. MILESTONE CELEBRATION
Jason Taumalolo may have celebrated his 200th game at Magic Round last weekend, but Cowboys fans will still be able to salute the skipper’s achievement. The club will hold a tribute to Taumalolo at tonight’s game, celebrating the amazing career of the 27-year-old. Taumalolo became just the eighth player to reach 200 games for North Queensland, which triggers automatic life membership.
2. DREAM DEBUT
The Cowboys were formed to give North Queensland kids a path to the NRL without leaving home and another local boy will achieve that dream tonight. Twenty-year-old forward Heilum Luki will become Cowboy No.294 after being named to make his debut by Head Coach Todd Payten. Luki came through the Cowboys Cairns Academy before joining the NRL squad in November.
3. TOMMY TIME
Tom Gilbert is set to start at prop for the first time in his NRL career when he takes the field against Newcastle. Gilbert started four games at second-row late in the 2020 season, but tonight makes his first appearance in his preferred position, replacing Coen Hess who will miss the game through concussion.
4. CLOSING IN
North Queensland is just two wins shy of leveling the overall head-to-head record with Newcastle – an impressive feat considering the Knights won nine of the first 11 clashes between the two sides. Newcastle leads 21-19 in the all-time fixtures, with the two sides splitting the two games in 2020. The last time they met in North Queensland, the Cowboys produced arguably their best performance of the season to topple the Knights 32-20.
5. MID-WEEK FOOTY
Tonight’s game marks the only Thursday night fixture at Queensland Country Bank Stadium for the season. The remaining six home games for the Cowboys are split three each between Friday and Saturday.