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Here is all you need to know about the North Queensland Cowboys' 2021 Telstra Premiership draw.

The Lowdown

Teams they play twice

Dragons, Titans, Sharks, Wests Tigers, Sea Eagles, Broncos, Roosters, Knights, Warriors

Teams they play once

Raiders, Storm, Eels, Rabbitohs, Bulldogs, Panthers.

Day-by-day breakdown

Thursday - 1, Friday - 6, Saturday - 12, Sunday - 5.

Turnarounds

5 days – 1, 6 days – 6, 7+ days – 16

Kick-off

North Queensland will start their 2021 campaign in difficult fashion with an away trip against the Panthers on March 13 before returning home for two games at Queensland Country Bank Stadium against the Dragons and Titans.

It will be the only time the Cowboys will meet the Panthers, the 2020 minor premiers, during the regular season.

Five key match-ups

Titans (Round 3, Queensland Country Bank Stadium; Round 21, Cbus Super Stadium): The Cowboys held a dominant 10-game winning streak against the Gold Coast that stretched over seven years prior to a 30-10 loss in round 13 last season and the side will be eager to get one back over a Titans outfit that will boast a new engine room in 2021.

The arrival of David Fifita, Tino Fa'asuamaleaui and Herman Ese'ese to the Gold Coast's forward pack should make this a terrific contest when they go head-to-head with Jason Taumalolo, Josh McGuire and Jordan McLean.

Warriors (Round 8, Mt Smart Stadium; Round 12, Queensland Country Bank Stadium): Todd Payten and Lachlan Burr's defection to the Cowboys in 2021 is enough to set the tone for this clash after the pair were part of the Warriors' campaign last season.

Payten was a wanted man for the New Zealand club before he knocked them back to chase the top job in North Queensland following the resignation of Paul Green. The Warriors hold a recent 3-1 record over the Cowboys including a 37-26 win in the only clash between the sides in 2020.

Cowboys' top five tries of 2020

Broncos (Round 9, Queensland Country Bank Stadium; Round 20, Suncorp Stadium): The local derby never fails to disappoint but few could have predicted the circumstances these once-heavyweight clubs faced in 2020 with coaches sacked and the Gold Coast Titans taking the mantle as the most successful Queensland side in the competition.

The head-to-head record between the clubs is locked at 6-6 since the Cowboys claimed the 2015 decider. Rookie coaches Kevin Walters and Todd Payten will be eyeing off a win early.

Knights (Round 11, Queensland Country Bank Stadium; Round 16, McDonald Jones Stadium): Both sides have had the wood over each other on home turf since 2015 and the Cowboys were the best club in 2020 at restricting the running game of their former player Kalyn Ponga during their round six encounter.

Todd Payten was also quite vocal about Blake Green's abrupt move from the Warriors to the Knights midway through the 2020 season and the veteran playmaker will have his chance to respond on the paddock.

Add in the Knights' recruitment of Cowboys playmaker Jake Clifford for 2022 and there will be plenty of feeling in this one.

Storm (Round 19, Queensland Country Bank Stadium): North Queensland need little reminding of the 11-game losing streak they have endured against Melbourne, and it will stretch into a dozen with another loss in 2021 if the Cowboys can't turn things around.

The 2017 grand final rematch hasn't lived up to any hype since the Cowboys' miracle run but a red-hot Cameron Munster against an injury-free Michael Morgan would be enough to get the crowd through the gates.

Toughest stretch

A difficult period looms for the Cowboys during the Origin period with away trips to Sydney and Newcastle prior to hosting Melbourne and the Roosters on home turf. Back-to-back Queensland derbies against the Broncos and Titans await in enemy territory after that.  

Better. Faster. Stronger.

And another thing

The Cowboys will leave Queensland on just three occasions in the first half of the regular season with clashes against the Roosters at Suncorp Stadium for Magic Round and Cronulla on the Sunshine Coast deemed "away" games. 

 

You can download the full 2021 Premiership draw or your team’s schedule directly to your calendar with eCal. Download it now.