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The Titans' season is fast slipping away but they get a chance to take down one of the competition heavyweights with a number of Cowboys missing on Origin duty.

North Queensland's flying start to 2022 has seen Val Holmes, Reuben Cotter, Jeremiah Nanai, Tom Dearden, Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow and Murray Taulagi all rewarded with Maroons selection while Gold Coast are without big guns Tino Fa'asuamaleaui (Origin) and David Fifita (knee).

The Titans have lost seven of their past eight, including Friday's inexplicable fadeout against the Broncos in which they led 24-4 after 50 minutes before conceding five tries in 21 minutes to be blown off the park.

North Queensland are also coming off a loss but coach Todd Payten could take plenty of positives out of their gritty second-half performance against premiers Penrith and the players that come into his side will know exactly what's expected of them and the standards they need to live up to.

Sportsbet Betting preview: Titans v Cowboys

The Rundown

Team news

Titans: A late change with Esan Marsters promoted to the starting side and Patrick Herbert going to the bench in his return from a calf injury. Aaron Booth is 18th man.

Tino Fa'asuamaleaui is on Origin duty with the Maroons and David Fifita is also out after aggravating a knee injury against Brisbane in his first game back from three weeks on the sideline. Moeaki Fotuaika is back from an ankle injury at prop and Isaac Liu goes to lock to fill the hole left by Fa'asuamaleaui.

Halfback Toby Sexton and winger Jamayne Isaako suffered shoulder injuries against the Broncos but are good to go.

Cowboys: The Cowboys are 1-17 with no late changes. Ben Condon is 18th man.

Jason Taumalolo's return from a knee injury is a massive boost with Val Holmes, Reuben Cotter, Tom Dearden and Jeremiah Nanai on Maroons duty. Murray Taulagi and Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow also made Billy Slater's 22-man Queensland squad but they have been released to play for the Cowboys. Tabuai-Fidow moves to the centres to take Holmes' place, Brendan Elliot comes in on the wing and Ben Hampton is the new five-eighth.

Coen Hess moves from lock to prop, Heilum Luki goes into the starting side in the second row and Connelly Lemuelu joins the bench. 

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Titans is number 1 Jayden Campbell
    Fullback for Cowboys is number 1 Scott Drinkwater
  • Winger for Titans is number 2 Corey Thompson
    Winger for Cowboys is number 2 Brendan Elliot
  • Centre for Titans is number 3 Brian Kelly
    Centre for Cowboys is number 3 Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow
  • Centre for Titans is number 16 Esan Marsters
    Centre for Cowboys is number 4 Peta Hiku
  • Winger for Titans is number 5 Jamayne Isaako
    Winger for Cowboys is number 5 Murray Taulagi
  • Five-Eighth for Titans is number 6 Alexander Brimson
    Five-Eighth for Cowboys is number 6 Ben Hampton
  • Halfback for Titans is number 7 Toby Sexton
    Halfback for Cowboys is number 7 Chad Townsend

Forwards

  • Prop for Titans is number 8 Moeaki Fotuaika
    Prop for Cowboys is number 8 Jordan McLean
  • Hooker for Titans is number 9 Erin Clark
    Hooker for Cowboys is number 9 Reece Robson
  • Prop for Titans is number 10 Jarrod Wallace
    Prop for Cowboys is number 10 Coen Hess
  • 2nd Row for Titans is number 11 Sam McIntyre
    2nd Row for Cowboys is number 11 Tom Gilbert
  • 2nd Row for Titans is number 12 Beau Fermor
    2nd Row for Cowboys is number 12 Heilum Luki
  • Lock for Titans is number 13 Isaac Liu
    Lock for Cowboys is number 13 Jason Taumalolo

Interchange

  • Interchange for Titans is number 4 Patrick Herbert
    Interchange for Cowboys is number 14 Jake Granville
  • Interchange for Titans is number 14 Tanah Boyd
    Interchange for Cowboys is number 15 Connelly Lemuelu
  • Interchange for Titans is number 15 Jaimin Jolliffe
    Interchange for Cowboys is number 16 Jamayne Taunoa-Brown
  • Interchange for Titans is number 17 Sam Lisone
    Interchange for Cowboys is number 17 Griffin Neame

Reserves

  • Replacement for Titans is number 18 Aaron Booth
    Replacement for Cowboys is number 18 Ben Condon

Match Officials

  • Referee: Gerard Sutton
  • Touch Judge: Wyatt Raymond
  • Senior Review Official: Ashley Klein

Last updated:

Key match-up

Toby Sexton v Chad Townsend: The rising star takes on the seasoned veteran in an intriguing battle of skill and will. At 21 and 16 games into his NRL career, Sexton has hit a flat spot as his team's fortunes have slumped but he has still come up with six try assists and 18 forced dropouts this season. At 31 and with 204 games and a premiership to his name, Townsend has staked his claim for buy of the year honours with a string of high-quality performances as the Cowboys have climbed to third on the ladder. 

Stat Attack

The Cowboys boast the second best defence in the NRL behind Penrith, conceding just 153 points at 12.75 per game. The Titans have the second worst defence, giving up 300 points at an average of 25 per match. In the past four weeks the Titans have let in 120 points at 30 per match.

Acknowledgement of Country

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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