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Cowboys back-rower Jason Taumalolo.

Cowboys coach Todd Payten believes "bad luck" is to blame for Jason Taumalolo's third hand fracture of the season but will have the club's medical staff probe deeper.

The powerhouse forward suffered a new break in his left hand - which he also injured in the lead-up to round six - 30 minutes into Sunday's loss to the Titans but kept playing through the pain.

Taumalolo initially fractured his right hand at training after the opening match of the year and has been restricted to only 13 matches.

The North Queensland captain will miss Saturday's clash with the Wests Tigers before being assessed early next week.

"Really disappointed that he's unable to play for us for the next week or two, however long that might be," Payten said.

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"I'm unsure, I think it's a pain management thing from his side of things. The kid has played hurt or injured for most of the year.

"He's our best player, we need him on the park as much as we can. We've just got to get on with it now that he's not playing.

"I just back our medical staff to make the right calls there. Our duty of care is always around Jase, but our players also understand that to play our game, at this time you're gonna have to play with some sort of niggle.

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"I think it's a bit of bad luck. He's played 200 games already and this [year] is the first time he's ever broken a bone.

"I'll get our medical people to look into that, but for the way he plays the game and where he carries the ball, maybe some adjustments need to be put around that.

"But we're playing a collision sport and I just think it's more bad luck than anything. Things happen and as a club we've had five broken hands, which is way above normal.

"So it's something we're gonna have to look into and see if there's something behind it."

Meanwhile, Payten has dropped Connelly Lemuelu after a subpar display, picking Jake Granville and Daejarn Asi in the centres.

"It's just around form," he said when asked about Lemuelu's demotion.

"And obviously we've got Daejarn, who has some experiences in the centres ... given how Connelly performed on the weekend was the major decision behind that."

Excitingly for the Cowboys, they'll have two debutants coming off the bench at QCB Stadium: Jeremiah Nanai and Griffin Neame.

"He's an 18-year-old kid who's supremely talented," Payten said of Nanai.

"He hasn't had any footy for the last seven weeks, but everyone else in this facility is really excited to see how he goes because he's been training really well.

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"He's really professional for his age and he's earned his spot there on the bench."

He added of Neame: "Griff's a tall, lean front-rower from New Zealand.

"Again, he's been in that [Queensland] Cup system, he's been over here for a couple of years. It's been difficult for him, he hasn't been able to get home with all this COVID stuff.

"So that's been a challenge for him, moving away from home. He's got a big motor, he's quite agile.

"His attitude in and around training has been first class for these last seven weeks and I was really impressed in the pre-season with how he just got on with things and when he was hurting he kept pushing.

"[It's] another little insight into what our team may look like in future times."

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National Rugby League respects and honours 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.

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