Australian and Maroons teammates Johnathan Thurston and Daly Cherry-Evans are set to face off in Friday night’s showdown at Central Coast Stadium.
Cherry-Evans’ Sea Eagles sit inside the top-four after a four and two start to the season. However, remarkably, the Sea Eagles have relied little on their ace halfback in the opening six rounds of the new season.
It’s been a rather quiet start by his standards, having only scored the one try this season. He also has just the one try-assist in six rounds.
But have no doubt, it won’t be long before last year’s Clive Churchill Medal winner is back to his attacking best, and the Cowboys could very well cop the full brunt of his return to top form on Friday night.
He possesses one of the most dynamic running games in the league. His defence is also something to behold, having only missed nine tackles in 130 attempts this season.
His counterpart, Thurston, has missed 19 tackles this season, although has crossed the line three times and set up five tries in the opening six rounds.
The Cowboys head into the NRL’s traditional Good Friday clash off the back of a disappointing show against the Tigers.
Having only recorded wins against Newcastle and Canberra this season, North Queensland have been one of the biggest disappointments to begin 2014.
Yet, the Sea Eagles aren’t reading into their opposition’s recent form, with second-rower Anthony Watmough identifying Thurston as the man to steer the Cowboys to victory on Friday night.
“Blokes like him always come out strong after a loss,” Watmough said. “That’s the danger for us. You know how hungry he’s going to be. He hates losing. It’s a dangerous sort of a match. It reminds me of the Tigers game — we keep getting teams that are coming off a loss.
“Big-game players don’t have two bad games in a row. Thurston is going to be coming at us. We know we’ve got to pressure him, but we know it's not always that easy.”