One team is riding a two-match winning streak and the other has issues that need to be resolved.
Two weeks ago you'd have the Raiders as the former team and the Cowboys as the latter but not anymore.
North Queensland's wins did come against strugglers Wests Tigers and Canterbury, but they are four competition points that the Cowboys will gladly keep.
The Raiders' losses to Penrith and Parramatta came against a higher standard of opposition but have left coach Ricky Stuart an unhappy man. He'll be expecting a return to the winner's list.
Cowboys v Raiders
Match: Cowboys v Raiders
Round 7 -
Venue: Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Townsville
Cowboys: The Cowboys will line up 1-17 as named.
Jason Taumalolo is still sidelined by a hand injury but the club is hopeful he can return in round eight.
Taumalolo, who hasn't played since round one, had his comeback from an injury to his other hand aborted when he suffered another training accident.
Peter Hola and Jake Clifford were left out 24 hours before the match. Tom Gilbert was omitted an hour before kick-off and Esan Marsters is 18th man.
The Cowboys have scored 64 points in their past two games.
Raiders: Corey Harawira-Naera has come into the starting side and Hudson Young goes to the bench.
Co-captain Josh Hodgson is out with a calf injury, replaced by young gun Tom Starling at hooker, while a number of other forwards appear to have paid the price for last week's heavy loss to Parramatta.
Prop Josh Papalii has been dropped to the interchange with Ryan James returning at prop after missing a week with Ryan Sutton sliding back from the front row to lock and Emre Guler promoted from the bench to partner James.
After initially being dropped to the reserves list, Joe Tapine was left out altogether 24 hours before kick-off. Matt Frawley was the other player omitted on the eve of the game.
Corey Horsburgh comes onto the bench for his first game of the season with Sia Soliola dropping from the interchange to be 18th man.
Sebastian Kris has comes on to the wing for Bailey Simonsson who failed a HIA last weekend.
Forward Siliva Havili will play his 100th NRL game.
Match: Cowboys v Raiders
Round 7 -
Fullback for Cowboys is number 1 Valentine HolmesFullback for Raiders is number 1 Caleb Aekins
Winger for Cowboys is number 2 Kyle FeldtWinger for Raiders is number 2 Sebastian Kris
Centre for Cowboys is number 3 Justin O'NeillCentre for Raiders is number 3 Jarrod Croker
Centre for Cowboys is number 4 Connelly LemueluCentre for Raiders is number 4 Curtis Scott
Winger for Cowboys is number 5 Murray TaulagiWinger for Raiders is number 5 Jordan Rapana
Five-Eighth for Cowboys is number 6 Scott DrinkwaterFive-Eighth for Raiders is number 6 Jack Wighton
Halfback for Cowboys is number 7 Ben HamptonHalfback for Raiders is number 7 George Williams
Prop for Cowboys is number 8 Coen HessProp for Raiders is number 8 Ryan James
Hooker for Cowboys is number 20 Reece RobsonHooker for Raiders is number 9 Tom Starling
Prop for Cowboys is number 10 Jordan McLeanProp for Raiders is number 10 Emre Guler
2nd Row for Cowboys is number 11 Shane Wright2nd Row for Raiders is number 12 Elliott Whitehead
2nd Row for Cowboys is number 12 Ben Condon2nd Row for Raiders is number 15 Corey Harawira-Naera
Lock for Cowboys is number 13 Lachlan BurrLock for Raiders is number 13 Ryan Sutton
Interchange for Cowboys is number 14 Jake GranvilleInterchange for Raiders is number 11 Hudson Young
Interchange for Cowboys is number 15 Mitchell DunnInterchange for Raiders is number 14 Siliva Havili
Interchange for Cowboys is number 16 Francis MoloInterchange for Raiders is number 16 Corey Horsburgh
Interchange for Cowboys is number 17 Corey JensenInterchange for Raiders is number 17 Josh Papalii
Reserve for Cowboys is number 18 Esan MarstersReserve for Raiders is number 18 Iosia Soliola
- Referee: Peter Gough
- Touch Judge: Dave Munro
- Touch Judge: Nick Morel
- Senior Review Official: Matt Noyen
Jordan McLean v Josh Papali'i: With Josh McGuire gone, McLean is now the undoubted leader of the North Queensland forward pack. He needs to show the way against the Raiders side led by Papali'i. Big Papa, a proven performer at the highest level, has been relegated to the bench but is still likely to play big minutes given Canberra's habit of rotating their middles.
The Raiders have conceded 11 tries in their past two matches and been outscored 35-4 in the second half of those fixtures.
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