It’s Johnathan Thurston’s 300th Telstra Premiership match and he’s also breaking Matt Bowen’s club record for most games with the Cowboys.
North Queensland are effectively adding Thurston and his co-captain, Matt Scott, to their team which defied all odds to make last year’s grand final as both veteran internationals played only a few games between them in 2017 due to injury.
They’ve also welcomed Storm prop Jordan McLean to their team so it’s no surprise they’re one of the premiership favourites.
Cronulla have flown under the radar but have stocked up well with the addition of Dragons star Josh Dugan and Panthers playmaker Matt Moylan but they will start as the underdogs in Townsville.
1300 Smiles Stadium, Townsville, Friday March 9, 8:05pm.
Head-to-head: Played 44, Sharks 27 wins, Cowboys 17 wins.
Last five games:
- 2017 qualifying final; North Queensland Cowboys def. Cronulla Sharks 15-14.
- Round 24, 2017; Cronulla Sharks def. North Queensland Cowboys 26-16.
- Round 11, 2017; Cronulla Sharks def. North Queensland Cowboys 18-14.
- 2016 preliminary final; Cronulla Sharks def. North Queensland Cowboys 32-20.
- Round 14, 2016; Cronulla Sharks def. North Queensland Cowboys 13-10.
2017 points per game: Cowboys 19.3; Sharks 19.6.
2017 points conceded per game: Cowboys 18.3; Sharks 16.8.
Televised: Live on Nine, Fox League
This preview will be updated with team list news on Tuesday afternoon, with a full match preview to come on Wednesday.