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A little bloke in headgear will play his final NRL match on the Gold Coast on Saturday.

The one-and-only Johnathan Thurston won't feature in the finals in his last season in the game, but a win will at least see him bid farewell the NRL with back-to-back victories following last Friday's comfortable victory over Parramatta.

The Cowboys head into the match having avoided the wooden spoon. That's one positive to come out of the season. Another is the emergence of young half Jake Clifford.

As for the Titans, they'll be keen on honouring Thurston before and after the match but ensuring that trademark laugh is nowhere to be seen during the 80 minutes.

Key match up: Ash Taylor v Johnathan Thurston. It's been a mixed season for the Titans No.7. Some great outings have been mixed in with some indifferent performances. Taylor could learn a thing or two from the man he'll oppose on Saturday when it comes to mental focus and consistency.

For the Titans to win: Jarrod Wallace and Jai Arrow are Origin players and most judges think Ryan James deserves to be one. That trio needs to stand up to the Cowboys middle three – Taumalolo, Scott and McLean – if they want to finish the year with a win.

For the Cowboys to win: Get the ball to Kyle Feldt. The winger was back to his spectacular best in round 24, turning in a finishing display that should feature in post-season highlight reels. Cowboys fans will be hoping for more of the same against the Titans.

Titans Stat Attack: North Queensland's ball players need to watch out for Anthony Don when throwing long passes. The Titans winger leads the NRL in intercepts.

Cowboys Stat Attack: Matt Scott, Jordan McLean and Jason Taumalolo combined to run for a remarkable 602 metres against the Eels last weekend. Any teams that gets production like from their middle forwards is in for a good day.

And another thing: This match is officially sold out. A win would set the stage for the Titans' 2019 campaign.

Gold Coast Titans v North Queensland Cowboys, Saturday 5.30pm at Cbus Super Stadium

Titans: Coach Garth Brennan has made a late switch, moving Bryce Cartwright from the reserves to the bench in place of Will Matthews, who was cut an hour before kick-off with Brendan Elliot. Jai Whitbread and Leilani Latu were omitted on Friday afternoon.

Cowboys: The Cowboys will line up as named on Tuesday for Johnathan Thurston's final game. Te Maire Martin (ankle) returns at five-eighth in place of Jake Clifford. Shaun Fensom replaces Francis Molo on the bench. Clifford and Shane Wright were omitted an hour before kick-off, while Molo and Javid Bowen were omitted on Friday.

Head-to-head: Played 20; Cowboys 12 wins, Titans 8 wins
Previous result: Cowboys won 26-14 in Townsville in round 7
Points per game: Titans 19.4; Cowboys 18.2
Points conceded per game: Titans 24; Cowboys 21.5
Televised: Live on Fox League

Petero Civoniceva's prediction: This should be a sensational night for Johnathan Thurston and the fans who pack into Cbus Super Stadium are in for a treat. All the sentiment will be with the Cowboys and JT's team-mates can be expected to aim up again just as they did against the Eels last week. The Titans were brave last week and they have some

Tip: Cowboys by 12