The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys host the Canberra Raiders at Queensland Country Bank Stadium on Saturday night.
1. OLD FOES
The Cowboys have met the Raiders 45 times since entering the competition in 1995, which is their third most fixtures against any side. Canberra holds a 25-20 lead in the overall match-up, although North Queensland have enjoyed some recent success. The Cowboys have won two of the last three meetings against the Raiders, including a dramatic 26-24 comeback victory in Round 7 last year.
2. BIG RED
Towering 21-year-old middle forward Griffin Neame will make his season debut on Saturday night. The Kiwi product was sensational for the Cowboys in their trial victory over the Rabbitohs, but was then struck down by COVID and missed the Broncos trial.
3. MAC’S BACK
Jordan McLean returns to the starting side, replacing injured new recruit Jamayne Taunoa-Brown at prop. Taunoa-Brown suffered a PCL injury in the season opener and is expected to miss between one and four weeks.
4. STICKING STRONG
Workhorse forward Tom Gilbert retains his spot in the starting side after a brilliant performance in Round 1. Gilbert was originally named on the bench, but was a late call-up to start in the second row and was arguably the Cowboys best forward. Gilbert again starts in the second row alongside rising star Jeremiah Nanai.
5. STAYING HOME
Saturday night’s game is the second of five straight games in Queensland to open the season for the Cowboys. Todd Payten’s men travel to Brisbane to face the Broncos next week, before returning home to face the Roosters in Round 4 and back to Brisbane in Round 5 to battle the Warriors in Redcliffe.