Cowboys superstar Valentine Holmes is hitting top form at the right moment as he prepares to face his former team Cronulla for the first time.
Holmes, who set up three tries in last week's defeat of the Titans, walked out on the Sharks after the 2018 season to chase an NFL dream in the US, reportedly upsetting some at the Sutherland Shire club.
Aside from wanting to get one over their old mate Holmes, the injury-hit Cronulla side are desperate to win after slipping to a third straight defeat against the Wests Tigers.
Cowboys: Coen Hess (ankle) joins Jason Taumalolo (knee bone bruising) on the sidelines, with Gavin Cooper starting in the second row and Shane Wright added to the bench. Tom Opacic, Corey Jensen and Reuben Cotter were the other players to drop out of the 21-man squad named on Tuesday.
Josh McGuire shifts to lock with Francis Molo at prop. The Cowboys have scored more tries after Round 3 than in their final six games of 2019.
Sharks: Cronulla are 1-17. Matt Moylan replaces Chad Townsend (hamstring) in the halves, and Connor Tracey and Siosifa Talakai are named on the bench. Andrew Fifita (calf/knee) is out again. Reserves Billy Magoulias and Braydon Trindall were the two players left out 24 hours before game time and Royce Hunt and Teig Wilton dropped off the extended bench on game day. Centre Josh Dugan has scored a try in his past four games against the Cowboys.
Sharks coach John Morris conceded the Tigers rolled through his middles last week - and North Queensland still possess a strong forward pack even without Taumalolo. Cronulla's pack will need to lift as a unit to match them - especially with Andrew Fifita out. The hard-running of Toby Rudolf and Braden Hamlin-Uele could be key.