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TONGA BACK FOR TOYOTA COWBOYS
REPRESENTATIVE centre Willie Tonga will return to the North Queensland line-up for the first time since injuring his shoulder in the State of Origin series opener when the Toyota Cowboys play Newcastle on Monday night.
Tonga has missed the last five Cowboys matches after suffering the injury in the first half of the Maroons' win at Suncorp Stadium and his comeback will see Ben Jones revert to the Mackay Cutters in the Intrust Super Cup.
Coach Neil Henry today named an 18-man squad to take on the Knights in the round 18 match at Ausgrid Stadium.
Former Knight Cory Paterson is in line to make his debut for the Cowboys after being included on a five-man interchange bench.
The mid-season signing turned out for the Northern Pride in the Intrust Super Cup in Cairns two weeks ago in his first game following minor knee surgery.
James Tamou has been named in the starting pack to face the sixth-placed Knights, switching spots with Leeson Ah Mau, while co-captains Johnathan Thurston and Matthew Scott (Queensland Origin), as well as interchange forward Joel Riethmuller (Queensland Residents), will back up from representative commitments on Wednesday night.
Centre Brent Tate is expected to return from his third knee reconstruction in round 19 against the Wests Tigers.
Newcastle beat the fourth-placed Cowboys at Dairy Farmers Stadium in round two - North Queensland's only loss at home this season - and have won their last three matches.
The match will be televised on Fox Sports 2, with a live radio broadcast on 4TOFM.
North Queensland Toyota Cowboys: 1. Matthew Bowen, 2. Ashley Graham, 3. Will Tupou, 4. Willie Tonga, 5. Kalifa Faifai Loa, 6. Ray Thompson, 7. Johnathan Thurston (c), 8. Matthew Scott (c), 9. Aaron Payne, 10. James Tamou, 11. Gavin Cooper, 12. Glenn Hall, 13. Dallas Johnson. Interchange: 14. James Segeyaro, 15. Joel Riethmuller, 16. Ashton Sims, 17 Leeson Ah Mau, 18. Cory Paterson (one to be omitted).