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XXXX things you need to know: Round 13 v Roosters

The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys travel to Sydney to face the Roosters at Allianz Stadium on Sunday afternoon.


With six players unavailable due to State of Origin, Todd Payten has been forced into a host of changes for the Roosters clash. Braidon Burns and Tom Chester return to replace Murray Taulagi and Valentine Holmes, while Jake Clifford slots into five-eighth for Tom Dearden. Club stalwart Jake Granville starts his first game of the season at hooker in place of Reece Robson, while Kulikefu Finefeuiaki and Tom Mikaele move into the starting side for Jeremiah Nanai and Reuben Cotter.


Jamal Shibasaki, brother of Cowboy No.306 Gehamat, will make his NRL debut in the Roosters fixture. The 2023 Mal Meninga Cup Player of the Year has been in fantastic form in the Queensland Cup for the Mackay Cutters this season, scoring seven tries in 14 games. The 18-year-old is equally at home playing either second row or middle forward.


The Cowboys broke a long losing streak against the Roosters in the only meeting between the two sides in 2023. Heading into Magic Round as huge underdogs, the Cowboys produced one of their best performances of the season, winning 20-6 behind tries from Reuben Cotter, Jack Gosiewski and Chad Townsend. Sunday’s clash will be the Cowboys’ first appearance at the new Allianz Stadium.


Holmes is back in the NRL point-scoring lead with 116 through 12 games. Nanai has stormed into second for tries with 10, while Townsend leads the competition with three field goals. Holmes is tied for second with 12 line-breaks. Townsend and Scott Drinkwater rank second and third with 15 and 14 try assists respectively, while Drinkwater leads the NRL with 17 line-break assists and three 40-20s. Robson and Cotter are second and third with 510 and 506 tackles.

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.