North Queensland Cowboys v Gold Coast Titans
Dairy Farmers Stadium, Townsville, Saturday 9.30pm (AEDT)
Last meeting: Round 20 2011 - Cowboys 28 bt Titans 20 at Skilled Park
Head to Head: Cowboys 5 Titans 4
Referees: Steve Lyons and Alan Shortall
TV: Live, FoxSports 2
TAB Sportsbet: Cowboys $1.53 Titans $2.70
FootyTab: Titans +6.5
Greg Prichard writes: The Cowboys look big and strong in the forwards and very dangerous in the backs, and they are always up for a Queensland derby. This is a great opportunity for them to start the season with a win against a Titans outfit that has a big question mark over it despite spending up on centres and forwards. The pressure is on veteran Titans halfback Scott Prince to fire.
AAP writes: Johnathan Thurston's form last season made him an obvious recipient of the Golden Boot that is awarded to the world's best player. So when the Queensland and Australia halfback says moving to five-eighth will make him more dangerous, alarm bells will almost certainly start to ring for opponents. Thurston begins his quest to replace Darren Lockyer in the No.6 shirt for state and country against a new-look Titans side still reeling from claiming the wooden spoon last year. Jamal Idris and Nate Myles both make their debuts for John Cartwright's side but Luke Douglas starts on the bench.
Key: The pressure's on Titans skipper Scott Prince to start the year well and he'll need to be in top form if they want to avoid a mauling in Townsville.
Star Titans signing ... Jamal Idris. Photo: Getty Images
COWBOYS: Matthew Bowen, Ashley Graham, Brent Tate, Kane Linnett, Antonio Winterstein, Johnathan Thurston, Ray Thompson, Matthew Scott, Aaron Payne, James Tamou, Gavin Cooper, Glenn Hall, Dallas Johnson. Interchange: James Segeyaro, Scott Bolton, Jason Taumalolo, Ashton Sims.
TITANS: William Zillman, Steve Michaels, Jamal Idris, Dominique Peyroux, David Mead, Jordan Rankin, Scott Prince, Luke Bailey, Kayne Lawton, Nate Myles, Greg Bird, Mark Minichiello, Ashley Harrison. Interchange (from): Luke Douglas, Matt White, Ben Ridge, Matt Srama, Luke O'Dwyer.