The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys host the Sydney Roosters at Queensland Country Bank Stadium on Saturday evening.
1. HESS OUT
Reigning Paul Bowman Medalist Coen Hess has been ruled out of the contest after failing to overcome a shoulder injury. Hess came from the field after just 10 minutes in Sunday’s XXXX Derby, but fortunately scans revealed no structural damage and the 25-year-old should only miss one to two weeks. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown returns to the side in a direct replacement after overcoming a knee injury suffered in Round 1.
2. BACK ON TRACK
Todd Payten’s men will be looking to overcome a three-game losing streak against the Roosters. North Queensland’s last victory came in Round 17 of the 2019, which doubled as the 300th NRL game for Cowboys Life Member Gavin Cooper.
3. STAT LEADERS
A number of Cowboys sit atop or towards the top of various statistical categories after three rounds. Jeremiah Nanai leads the NRL with four tries following his hat-trick against the Broncos. Valentine Holmes sits second with 28 points, Tom Dearden leads the competition with five try assists and well as line-break assists with four. Chad Townsend ranks fourth with 1249 kicking metres.
4. ON THE ROAD
Saturday’s clash with the Roosters is the final of three home games in the opening month of the season for the Cowboys. The Cowboys are set to travel in the three of the following four weeks, including back to back away fixtures in Rounds 5 and 6 against the Warriors and Raiders respectively.
5. ACTION PACKED
Saturday marks the busiest on-field schedule at a Cowboys home game since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Gates open at 3pm with four Laurie Spina Shield games to follow from 3.15pm. From 4.10pm the North Queensland Gold Stars face the Souths Logan Magpies in Round 2 of the BMD Premiership. The NRL game is set to kick off at 6.35pm and at half time of that fixture, more than 600 youngsters will descend on the field of the play for the Laurie Spina Shield Fastest Feet Relay.