The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys face the Parramatta Eels in Darwin on Saturday night.
1. THE TOP END
The Cowboys return to the Northern Territory for the first time since 2018. North Queensland have made three prior appearances in Darwin, winning twice, but lost the last fixture to the Eels 20-14. Prior to the 2018 clash, the Cowboys toppled the Eels 32-6 in 2017 and the Roosters 50-12 in 2012.
2. OLD FOES
The Cowboys and Eels have met 43 times since 1995, with Parramatta holding a 22-20 lead in the head to head match-up to go along with one draw. The two sides have split the last 10 outings five apiece, although the Eels have been victorious in the previous two.
Todd Payten has named an unchanged 17 from the team who triumphed over the Titans in last weekend’s XXXX Derby. Scott Drinkwater remains at fullback following a terrific performance, with Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow named in the reserves as he edges closer to a return from a knee injury.
4. MILESTONE MAN
Cowboys co-captain Chad Townsend will celebrate 200 NRL games tomorrow night. The 31-year-old debuted in 2011 for the Cronulla Sharks and remained in the Shire for three seasons before moving to the Warriors in 2014. By 2016 he was back in Cronulla and played 27 games in the Sharks’ historic maiden premiership campaign. In the first of a three-year deal with the Cowboys, Townsend was named co-captain alongside Jason Taumalolo prior to playing a game for the club.
5. DRY SPELL
Valentine Holmes has been one of the potent attacking threats in rugby league since making his NRL debut in 2014, but the Cowboys centre will be out to break a remarkable duck against the Eels tomorrow night. Holmes has scored 77 tries in his career, but none of them have been against Parramatta. The Eels and South Sydney are the only two teams the 26-year-old has never crossed the stripe against.