The Cowboys will be desperate to awaken from a nightmare 2020 season which has seen them reduced to also-ran status and contenders for the wooden spoon.
North Queensland have won just one of their past 10 games and arguably hit rock bottom when hammered 30-10 by Sunshine State rivals the Titans last weekend on the Gold Coast.
The Cowboys sit above only the Broncos and Bulldogs on the ladder, just two points ahead of last-placed Canterbury, and things don't get any easier from here with five of their final seven fixtures against top eight sides.
South Sydney, in contrast, are clinging to a spot in the eight and after two successive wins will fancy their chances of banking the two points and keeping themselves in that conversation.
Match: Cowboys v Rabbitohs
Round 14 -
Venue: Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Townsville
Cowboys: Scott Drinkwater returns from a knee injury at fullback. Prop John Asiata returns from a knee injury on the bench in place of Tom Gilbert.
The Cowboys have won only two games from seven at QCB Stadium.
Corey Jensen and Esan Marsters were cut from the reserves 24 hours before kick-off and Shane Wright and Jake Clifford were omitted an hour before kick-off.
Rabbitohs: Cameron Murray is set for a switch to the edge with Liam Knight starting at lock and Bayley Sironen moving to the bench. Murray is expected to revert back to the middle when Sironen comes onto the field. The Rabbitohs have won their past four games against the Cowboys.
Troy Dargan and Kurt Dillon were omitted 24 hours before kick-off and Jack Johns and Corey Allan made way on game day.
Match: Cowboys v Rabbitohs
Round 14 -
Fullback for Cowboys is number 1 Scott DrinkwaterFullback for Rabbitohs is number 1 Latrell Mitchell
Winger for Cowboys is number 2 Kyle FeldtWinger for Rabbitohs is number 2 Alex Johnston
Centre for Cowboys is number 3 Tom OpacicCentre for Rabbitohs is number 3 Campbell Graham
Centre for Cowboys is number 4 Connelly LemueluCentre for Rabbitohs is number 4 Dane Gagai
Winger for Cowboys is number 5 Hamiso Tabuai-FidowWinger for Rabbitohs is number 5 Jaxson Paulo
Five-Eighth for Cowboys is number 6 Ben HamptonFive-Eighth for Rabbitohs is number 6 Cody Walker
Halfback for Cowboys is number 7 Michael MorganHalfback for Rabbitohs is number 7 Adam Reynolds
Prop for Cowboys is number 8 Josh McGuireProp for Rabbitohs is number 8 Tevita Tatola
Hooker for Cowboys is number 9 Reece RobsonHooker for Rabbitohs is number 9 Damien Cook
Prop for Cowboys is number 10 Jordan McLeanProp for Rabbitohs is number 10 Thomas Burgess
2nd Row for Cowboys is number 11 Mitchell Dunn2nd Row for Rabbitohs is number 11 Jaydn Su'A
2nd Row for Cowboys is number 12 Coen Hess2nd Row for Rabbitohs is number 15 Liam Knight
Lock for Cowboys is number 13 Jason TaumaloloLock for Rabbitohs is number 13 Cameron Murray
Interchange for Cowboys is number 14 Jake GranvilleInterchange for Rabbitohs is number 12 Bayley Sironen
Interchange for Cowboys is number 15 John AsiataInterchange for Rabbitohs is number 14 Mark Nicholls
Interchange for Cowboys is number 16 Emry PereInterchange for Rabbitohs is number 16 Patrick Mago
Interchange for Cowboys is number 17 Francis MoloInterchange for Rabbitohs is number 17 Keaon Koloamatangi
- Referee: Chris Butler
- Touch Judge: Todd Smith
- Touch Judge: Peter Gough
- Senior Review Official: Jared Maxwell
Michael Morgan v Adam Reynolds: The Cowboys veteran endured a torrid return from long-term injury against the Titans and will be eager to make amends. The halfback missed seven tackles and made three errors in a display coach Josh Hannay put down to "trying too hard".
With his Rabbitohs rival coming off an influential outing against Brisbane Morgan just has to be better. Reynolds scored a try, kicked six from seven and forced five line dropouts to pin the Broncos deep in their own territory while combining beautifully with Cody Walker to direct South Sydney's attack.
Winger Alex Johnston reigns as the NRL's intercept king so North Queensland's playmakers will need to be cautious when throwing cutout balls on his side of the field.
Johnston has pounced on five errant passes so far this season, leading that category clearly ahead of a three-way tie for second (Scott Drinkwater, Suliasi Vunivalu and David Nofoaluma) on three intercepts.