NRL 2019: North Queensland Cowboys stars return for NZ Warriors clash

O'Neill has been promoted from reserve grade.
O'Neill has been promoted from reserve grade. Photo credit: AAP

North Queensland hope injecting former international Justin O'Neill and premiership player Scott Bolton into the side will deliver a much-needed win for the struggling NRL club.

The Cowboys are looking to snap a four-game losing streak, when they travel to Auckland and face the NZ Warriors on Saturday.

O'Neill has been promoted from reserve grade, while Bolton returns from a 10-week suspension, after he was charged with common assault after an off-field incident last year.

North Queensland coach Paul Green admitted he'd need the experienced duo to fire, if the Cowboys were to get their season back on track.

"[Bolton] has certainly been through the ringer personally," Green said. "It's been a tough time for him and his family, but all that's behind him now, so he can get on with what he loves. 

"He's experienced and has plenty of games under his belt, so however long I get out of him... he'll be right."

O'Neill, who has played for Queensland and Australia, replaces injured winger Nene Macdonald and Green backed the 28-year-old to make an impact in the NRL once again.

warriors team

"There's no doubt he can do it," Green said. "He was a test centre going back a couple of seasons, it's in his interest to find it for us and we need it too.

"Having him and Bolton back in the team, both are experienced guys and both have played in some big games for us, so that's what we need at the moment."

The Cowboys' only win this season came in the their opener against the Dragons, but they hung tough with competition pacesetters Melbourne last week, before falling 18-12.

Green is confident his men can cross the ditch and beat the Warriors (2-3) after the improved performance against the Storm.

"Given how we've started [the season], I'd like to think [the team] are pretty motivated to get that sort of effort again," Green said.

"It was certainly a better effort [against Melbourne], but you don't get two points for effort. We need to be better in some areas and I'd like to see an improvement from last week.

"If we maintain that effort and commitment we showed on the weekend, then yep, [we should win]."


Join us at 7:30pm Saturday for live updates of the Warriors v Cowboys NRL clash.