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Five things to know: Round 22 v Tigers

The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys host the Wests Tigers at Queensland Country Bank Stadium on Saturday evening.

1. DEBUT DAY

Cowboys Head Coach Todd Payten will unleash two of his most exciting young prospects on Saturday. Eighteen-year-old second rower Jeremiah Nanai and 20-year-old prop Griffin Neame will make their NRL debuts from the interchange against the Tigers. Both joined the NRL squad for the first time this season with Nanai coming through the Cowboys’ Cairns Academy and Neame through the New Zealand Academy.

2. MAN ON THE EDGE

Jake Granville has proved the ultimate ‘Mr Fix It’ for the Cowboys in 2021 and Saturday night will only enhance his reputation as one of the NRL’s most versatile players. Three weeks after starting an NRL game at fullback for the first time as a 32-year-old, Granville will make his career debut as a starting centre. Granville played 79 minutes at left centre for the Cowboys last weekend following a concussion to Murray Taulagi.

3. MAKIN’ CHANGES

Injuries have forced Payten into further changes on top of the debuts and Granville’s positional switch. Ben Hampton moves from centre to the wing to replace Murray Taulagi, while Daejarn Asi comes into the side at right centre for Connelly Lemuelu. Francis Molo returns at prop with Tom Gilbert reverting to the interchange. Ben Condon starts at second row for injured Cowboys skipper Jason Taumalolo.

4. SEASON SWEEP

Saturday’s meeting will be the second fixture between the Cowboys and Tigers in 2021, with North Queensland taking the Round 5 clash 34-30. The Tigers hold a 22-17 lead in the overall head to head match-up between the two sides stretching back to the 2000 season.

5. WINDING DOWN

Saturday’s game is the second last opportunity for Cowboys fans to watch their team at home in 2021. Following the showdown with the Tigers, the Cowboys play away in Rounds 23 and 24 before returning to Queensland Country Bank for the season finale against Manly in Round 25.

Acknowledgement of Country

North Queensland Cowboys respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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