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Cowboys team list: Round 13 v Eels

Exciting emerging outside backs Zac Laybutt and Robert Derby have been named to make their NRL debuts in Friday’s clash with the Parramatta Eels at CommBank Stadium.

Both graduates of the Cowboys Young Guns program, Laybutt moved to the Cowboys from Bundaberg, while Derby came through the club’s Cairns Academy.

The younger brother of Cowboy No.265 Kyle Laybutt, Zac will become Cowboy No.310 on Friday evening. The 21-year-old replaces Queensland Origin star Valentine Holmes at centre.

Already a PNG International, Derby starred for the Northern Pride in the 2022 Queensland Cup season before moving to the Cowboys full-time in 2023.

The 21-year-old made his Test Debut for PNG in the mid-year clash with Fiji in 2022 and would have appeared for the Kumuls if not for an ankle injury late in the season. Derby replaces Maroons winger Murray Taulagi.

Forwards Griffin Neame and Jamayne Taunoa-Brown have been named to return from respective injuries via the interchange.

Neame has been sidelined since Round 6 after suffering a cricoid fracture, while Taunoa-Brown missed last weekend’s game through concussion.

Veteran half Ben Hampton has been recalled to replace Tom Dearden, who is unavailable to play after being named 18th man for Queensland, while Jake Granville moves to lock to deputise for Maroons forward Reuben Cotter.

Friday’s game kicks off at 8pm.

>>> Payten on two NRL debuts, Hampton in the halves & Granville starting

Cowboys team to play Eels:

1. Scott Drinkwater

2. Kyle Feldt

3. Zac Laybutt

4. Peta Hiku

5. Robert Derby

6. Ben Hampton

7. Chad Townsend (c)

8. Jordan McLean

9. Reece Robson

10. Coen Hess

11. Luciano Leilua

12. Heilum Luki

13. Jake Granville


14. Jack Gosiewski

15. Kulikefu Finefeuiaki

16. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown

17. Griffin Neame


18. Mitch Dunn

19. Brendan Elliot

20. Sam McIntyre

21. Tom Duffy

22. Jason Taumalolo

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.