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Five things you need to know: Round 26 v Dolphins

The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys travel to Brisbane to take on The Dolphins in the final XXXX Derby of the season on Friday night.


The Cowboys will be out to avenge a disappointing loss to the NRL’s newcomers in their inaugural battle earlier this season. North Queensland conceded 26 first half points before staging a furious fightback only to fall short of a miracle comeback, falling 32-22.


Veteran prop Jordan McLean will celebrate his milestone 200th NRL match on Friday night. The 31-year-old debuted for Melbourne in 2013 before moving north in 2018. The former Kangaroos representative has appeared 113 times for the Cowboys in six seasons, including at least 21 games in each of the previous three campaigns.


Joining McLean in celebrating 200 games is Cowboys centre Peta Hiku. The 30-year-old made his debut for Manly in 2013 and has also had stints at Penrith and the Warriors before moving to North Queensland prior to the 2022 season. A 17-time Kiwis Test representative, Hiku will depart the Cowboys at the end of the season to take up a contract in the UK Super League.


With Semi Valemei out with a knee injury, Zac Laybutt has been recalled for his third NRL appearance. The skillful 21-year-old has been named at centre, with Murray Taulagi to move back to the left wing. Heilum Luki has been elevated to the starting side to replace Jeremiah Nanai, with Kulikefu Finefeuiaki to join the interchange.


Scott Drinkwater has fallen to second in the NRL for try assists, with Warriors halfback Shaun Johnson moving into the lead with 25, one in front of the Cowboys fullback. Drinkwater also ranks fourth in line-break assists. Chad Townsend leads the NRL with five field goals and also sits second for kick metres, total kicks and attacking kicks.

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.