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XXXX things you need to know: Round 9 v Dolphins

The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys host The Dolphins at Queensland Country Bank Stadium on Saturday night.


The Cowboys will blood another club debutant on Saturday, with Viliami Vailea to become Cowboy No.315. Vailea has been named at centre, replacing Tom Chester, who suffered a hamstring injury last weekend. Vailea appeared in 17 games for the Warriors over the course of three seasons before joining the Cowboys prior to 2024.


Fresh off inking a five-year contract extension, second-rower Heilum Luki returns from ankle surgery against The Dolphins. Luki has been sidelined since Round 2, when he sustained a syndesmosis injury in a victory over the Knights. The Cairns product has been named on the interchange.


After a rocky start against the NRL’s newest outfit, the Cowboys have won their previous two XXXX Derbies against The Dolphins, taking the overall ledger to 2-1 in North Queensland’s favour. The Cowboys registered a resounding 43-18 triumph over The Dolphins to open the 2024 season.


Valentine Holmes continues to lead the NRL with 76 points through eight games. Chad Townsend and Scott Drinkwater rank second and third respectively for try assists on the season. Drinkwater also leads the NRL with nine line-break assists, sits second in offloads with 15 and fourth in total runs with 160. Reece Robson and Reuben Cotter both sit inside the top five for tackles made with 323 and 320 respectively.

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.