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Five things to know: Round 18 v Sharks

The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys host the Cronulla Sutherland-Sharks at Queensland Country Bank Stadium on Friday night.


Tom Chester will become Cowboy No.305 when he runs onto Queensland Country Bank Stadium on Friday night. Chester’s ascension to the NRL caps a remarkable rise for the 21-year-old Townsville boy. Less than two years ago Chester was playing local league for Townsville Brothers and after battling injury last season he came off the bench for the Townsville Blackhawks under 21s in their run to the grand final. After impressing during a pre-season stint with the Cowboys, Chester has been in sensational form for the Blackhawks and earned his debut through a three-try performance last weekend with Todd Payten in the stands at Jack Manski Oval. Capable of playing almost every position on the field, Chester will start on the interchange.


The Cowboys will be without a number of first grade regulars for the top four battle against the Sharks. Origin stars Valentine Holmes, Tom Dearden and Jeremiah Nanai have been rested, while Murray Taulagi, Jordan McLean, Reuben Cotter, Heilum Luki and Mitch Dunn remain sidelined. Brendan Elliot and Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow form a new left-edge combination, Ben Hampton starts at five-eighth, Jamayne Taunoa-Brown at prop and Connelly Lemuelu in the second-row.


The Cowboys will be out to overturn a rough recent record against the Sharks. North Queensland haven’t beaten the men from the Shire since Round 1 of the 2018 season.


North Queensland will be chasing their sixth consecutive win at Queensland Country Bank Stadium. The Cowboys are 6-2 at home this season, with the last loss coming back in Round 4.


He may be resting tonight, but Holmes now leads the NRL with 149 total points and 62 goals. Jason Taumalolo has risen to second with 1025 post-contact metres. Chad Townsend is tied second with 14 try assists and fifth with 6196 kick metres. Murray Taulagi’s five intercepts are three more than any other player in the competition and Peta Hiku’s 262 runs are the fifth most in the NRL.

Acknowledgement of Country

North Queensland Cowboys respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.