The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys travel to the Gold Coast to take on the Parramatta Eels at Cbus Super Stadium on Saturday night.
1. RETURN OF REUBEN
He emerged as a fan-favourite in the opening rounds of the season and now Reuben Cotter is set to finally return from a four-month injury lay-off. Cotter suffered a Lisfranc injury in a victory over the Tigers in Round 5 and has subsequently undergone two bouts of surgery. Previously a dummy-half, Cotter transitioned to middle-forward prior to the season and emerged as one of the Cowboys’ best during the first month of the season.
2. BIG GUNS CLOSE
Cowboys skipper Jason Taumalolo and star outside back Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow are closing in on returns from their respective injuries. Taumalolo (hand) and Tabuai-Fidow (appendectomy) were both named in the reserves by Todd Payten in his 21-man squad on Tuesday.
3. SQUARING UP
A victory over Parramatta on Saturday night would see the Cowboys level the overall ledger at 21 apiece with the Eels. North Queensland have a commanding recent record against Parramatta, winning 11 of the previous 16 encounters stretching back to the 2011 season.
4. NEAME SIDELINED, NANI RETAINED
Cotter’s inclusion is the only change to the Cowboys 17 from last weekend’s clash with the Tigers. Cotter replaces debutant Griffin Neame, who picked up a one-game suspension for a crusher tackle. Fellow first-gamer Jeremiah Nanai has retained his spot on the interchange after his try-scoring debut.
5. SATURDAY PRIME TIME
This weekend’s game will be broadcast on both Channel 9 and FOX League. Saturday games are generally broadcast solely on FOX, but Channel 9 will show the final three 7.30pm Saturday games of the season.