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Five things to know: Round 15 v Cronulla

The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys host the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks at Queensland Country Bank Stadium on Friday night.

1. SEE YOU IN A WHILE

Friday night’s game will be North Queensland-based Cowboys fans last chance to watch their team play at home for a month. Following the Cronulla game, the NRL pauses for the Rep Round and upon the competition’s return the Cowboys embark on a two-game road trip to face Newcastle in Round 16 and South Sydney in Round 17. The Cowboys return to Queensland Country Bank Stadium in Round 18 for a showdown with the Roosters.

2. RE-WRITING THE SCRIPT

The Cowboys will be out to avenge one of their darkest moments of the 2021 season when Cronulla comes to town. North Queensland was soundly beaten 48-10 by the Sharks in Round 4 – a defeat which kicked the Cowboys’ season into gear, with a three-game winning streak ensuing between Rounds 5-7.

3. TURNING THE TABLES

The Cowboys have played the Sharks more than any other opponent outside the Broncos since the club’s inception in 1995. Despite a dominant stretch between 2009-2016, the Cowboys still trail 33-18 in the overall head-to-head match up. North Queensland’s most recent win over Cronulla came in the 2018 season opener – a 20-14 victory in Johnathan Thurston’s 300th NRL game.

4. FLYING FELDTY

The Cowboys welcome back two important pieces for Friday night’s clash, highlighted by newly minted State of Origin star Kyle Feldt. Feldt missed the Manly trip after copping a knock to his lower back late in his Queensland debut last Wednesday. His return sees Javid Bowen move from wing to the centres. Second-rower Mitch Dunn also returns after serving a one-match suspension.

5. WELCOME HOME

Proud Mackay product Tom Dearden will make his first home appearance as a Cowboy on Friday night. The former Cowboys Academy product became Cowboy No.295 against Manly in Round 14 and this weekend will run on to Queensland Country Bank Stadium for the first time. Dearden will again partner Scott Drinkwater in the halves.