The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys host the Melbourne Storm at Queensland Country Bank Stadium on Saturday evening.
1. WEATHERING THE STORM
The Cowboys will be desperate to overturn a rough run of results against the Storm. North Queensland haven’t beaten Melbourne since the 2015 preliminary final, although Todd Payten’s men did give the eventual minor premiers an almighty scare in a 20-16 defeat in Round 19 last season.
2. MORE OF THE SAME
Payten has named the same 17 for a fourth consecutive week. Peta Hiku has been named in the centres despite coming from the field late in the Magic Round victory over the Tigers. Hiku is expected to play after training well on Wednesday night. The remainder of the squad came through unscathed.
3. PACKED HOUSE
Saturday night is shaping to be the biggest crowd of the season to date at Queensland Country Bank Stadium. As of 12pm Thursday, more than 21,500 tickets had been sold, setting the stage for an electric atmosphere for a huge top four clash.
A victory over the Storm on Saturday would mark the Cowboys’ first six-game winning streak since the 2015 premiership campaign. The 2015 Cowboys won a club-record 11 consecutive games between Rounds 4 and 15.
5. STATS UPDATE
Jason Taumalolo leads the NRL with a remarkable 692 post-contact metres in just 10 games. The Cowboys skipper also ranks fourth in the NRL with 1612 total running metres. Valentine Holmes ranks second in the competition with 95 points and is tied for the lead with 39 goals. Jeremiah Nanai has scored the fifth most tries with eight in 10 games, one in front of teammate Kyle Feldt. Chad Townsend’s 11 try assists are tied for second in the NRL.