Familiar faces will front up to the Vodafone Warriors on and off the field in Friday night’s fifth-round clash against the Cowboys in Redcliffe.
Lining up on the other side of halfway for kick-off at Moreton Daily Stadium will be captain and halfback Chad Townsend, centre Peta Hiku and prop Jamayne Taunoa-Brown.
They were all Vodafone Warriors just last season before moving to Townsville.
After being with the club as a junior, Hiku found his way back home to Mount Smart Stadium via Manly Warringah, Penrith and Warrington, making his NRL debut for his home club in 2018.
He went on to clock up 73 appearances (and score 19 tries) in his four seasons with the Vodafone Warriors.
Fullback for Warriors is number 1 Reece WalshFullback for Cowboys is number 1 Scott Drinkwater
Winger for Warriors is number 2 Edward KosiWinger for Cowboys is number 2 Kyle Feldt
Centre for Warriors is number 3 Jesse ArtharsCentre for Cowboys is number 3 Valentine Holmes
Centre for Warriors is number 4 Adam PompeyCentre for Cowboys is number 4 Peta Hiku
Winger for Warriors is number 5 Marcelo MontoyaWinger for Cowboys is number 5 Murray Taulagi
Five-Eighth for Warriors is number 6 Chanel Harris-TavitaFive-Eighth for Cowboys is number 6 Tom Dearden
Halfback for Warriors is number 7 Shaun JohnsonHalfback for Cowboys is number 7 Chad Townsend
Prop for Warriors is number 10 Matthew LodgeProp for Cowboys is number 8 Jordan McLean
Hooker for Warriors is number 9 Wayde EganHooker for Cowboys is number 9 Reece Robson
Prop for Warriors is number 20 Addin Fonua-BlakeProp for Cowboys is number 16 Reuben Cotter
2nd Row for Warriors is number 11 Euan Aitken2nd Row for Cowboys is number 11 Tom Gilbert
2nd Row for Warriors is number 12 Bayley Sironen2nd Row for Cowboys is number 12 Jeremiah Nanai
Lock for Warriors is number 13 Josh CurranLock for Cowboys is number 13 Jason Taumalolo
Interchange for Warriors is number 8 Bunty AfoaInterchange for Cowboys is number 10 Jamayne Taunoa-Brown
Interchange for Warriors is number 14 Kodi NikorimaInterchange for Cowboys is number 14 Jake Granville
Interchange for Warriors is number 16 Aaron PeneInterchange for Cowboys is number 15 Heilum Luki
Interchange for Warriors is number 17 Jack MurchieInterchange for Cowboys is number 17 Griffin Neame
Replacement for Warriors is number 15 Eliesa KatoaReplacement for Cowboys is number 19 Brendan Elliot
- Referee: Todd Smith
- Touch Judge: Kasey Badger
- Senior Review Official: Matt Noyen
Townsend returned for a second injury-hampered stint last season, making five appearances to add to the 41 outings he had in 2014 and 2015, mostly paired in the halves with prodigal son Shaun Johnson; the pair were subsequently reunited at Cronulla Sutherland.
In his term with the Vodafone Warriors, prop Jamayne Taunoa-Brown played 32 times in 2020 and 2021 and last year also played twice as a loan player for St George Illawarra.
Off the field Todd Payten, who took over as Vodafone Warriors coach from Stephen Kearney in 2020, is matching coaching wits with his former club for the third time.
In last year’s two encounters, the Vodafone Warriors prevailed 24-20 in Gosford while the Cowboys won 29-28 in Townsville. The Vodafone Warriors had Taunoa-Brown in the line-up both times but were without Hiku for each contest while Townsend hadn’t yet joined the club.
Other New Zealand connections abound in the extended North Queensland squad for Friday night’s match:
- Auckland-born ex-Otahuhu rugby union winger Murray Taulagi.
- Auckland-born rookie second rower Jeremiah Nanai.
- Auckland-born co-captain and loose forward Jason Taumalolo.
- West Coaster Griffin Neame, who was born in Greymouth and played for the Suburbs rugby league club there.
- Auckland-born Papatoetoe rugby union product Connelly Lemuelu.
- Huntly-born Taniwharau junior Emry Pere.
- Christchurch-born Aranui Eagles junior Daejarn Asi (a winger, he made five appearances for the Vodafone Warriors’ S G Ball under-18 side in 2020 before the competition was cancelled due to the Covid outbreak).
- Veteran Cowboys prop Jordan McLean has Māori heritage.