The impressive NRL debut of Reece Walsh is small comfort for a Warriors side dealing with a mounting injury tally while preparing to face the resurgent Cowboys.
The New Zealand side's starting line-up in the heavy loss to Melbourne looked like it had been put together by Doctor Frankenstein with gun No.1 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck on the wing and back-rower Bayley Sironen in the halves.
Walsh was a standout in the 22-point drubbing, engineering a brace of late tries for winger Ken Maumalo, and this week he'll be closer to the action at No.6 with RTS reverting to fullback.
Todd Payten's men have won three on the bounce after a difficult opening month of the season, including a confidence-boosting victory in Canberra over recent grand finalists the Raiders last time out.
Warriors v Cowboys
Match: Warriors v Cowboys
Round 8 -
Venue: Central Coast Stadium, Gosford
Warriors: David Fusitu'a is out of the side, with Edward Kosi (No.23) to make his NRL debut on the wing. Apart from that the side is 1-17 with Sean O'Sullivan the 18th man.
Josh Curran will take his place in the side after successfully arguing for a downgrade on a careless high tackle at the NRL judiciary on Tuesday. Tohu Harris and Adam Pompey return from injury.
Jack Murchie, Tom Ale and Taniela Otukolo dropped off the reserves list 24 hours before kick-off.
The Warriors have won three of their past four games against the Cowboys.
Cowboys: North Queensland will start 1-17 with Javid Bowen the 18th man.
Powerhouse forward Jason Taumalolo (hand) came through a contact session on Thursday and will return.
Tom Gilbert and Jake Clifford dropped off the reserves list on Saturday.
The Cowboys are aiming for four consecutive wins for the first time since 2017.
Fullback for Warriors is number 1 Roger Tuivasa-SheckFullback for Cowboys is number 1 Valentine Holmes
Winger for Warriors is number 5 Ken MaumaloWinger for Cowboys is number 2 Kyle Feldt
Centre for Warriors is number 3 Adam PompeyCentre for Cowboys is number 3 Justin O'Neill
Centre for Warriors is number 4 Rocco BerryCentre for Cowboys is number 4 Connelly Lemuelu
Winger for Warriors is number 23 Edward KosiWinger for Cowboys is number 5 Murray Taulagi
Five-Eighth for Warriors is number 6 Reece WalshFive-Eighth for Cowboys is number 6 Scott Drinkwater
Halfback for Warriors is number 7 Kodi NikorimaHalfback for Cowboys is number 7 Ben Hampton
Prop for Warriors is number 8 Jamayne Taunoa-BrownProp for Cowboys is number 8 Coen Hess
Hooker for Warriors is number 9 Wayde EganHooker for Cowboys is number 9 Reece Robson
Prop for Warriors is number 10 Kane EvansProp for Cowboys is number 10 Jordan McLean
2nd Row for Warriors is number 11 Josh Curran2nd Row for Cowboys is number 11 Shane Wright
2nd Row for Warriors is number 12 Ben Murdoch-Masila2nd Row for Cowboys is number 12 Ben Condon
Lock for Warriors is number 13 Tohu HarrisLock for Cowboys is number 13 Jason Taumalolo
Interchange for Warriors is number 14 Jazz TevagaInterchange for Cowboys is number 14 Jake Granville
Interchange for Warriors is number 15 Leeson Ah MauInterchange for Cowboys is number 15 Lachlan Burr
Interchange for Warriors is number 16 Bunty AfoaInterchange for Cowboys is number 16 Francis Molo
Interchange for Warriors is number 17 Bayley SironenInterchange for Cowboys is number 17 Corey Jensen
Reserve for Warriors is number 20 Sean O'SullivanReserve for Cowboys is number 19 Javid Bowen
- Referee: Chris Butler
- Touch Judge: Todd Smith
- Touch Judge: Wyatt Raymond
- Senior Review Official: Alan Shortall
Kodi Nikorima v Ben Hampton: Two of the competition's lower-profile No.7s continue to battle for acceptance as NRL playmakers. Nikorima has shouldered most of the burden of compensating for the early season loss of Chanel Harris-Tavita easier to absorb while Hampton is playing well for a team that's won three in a row.
An 89 per cent completion rate last weekend really helped the Cowboys. And an impressive 147 run metres from bench forward Francis Molo provided a great boost during the middle stages of the match.
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