North Queensland are preparing for a Canberra pack with a "chip on their shoulder" but expect superstar Jason Taumalolo to contain their youthful exuberance.
Raiders rookies Corey Horsbugh and Hudson Young were the talk of the NRL after taking on South Sydney enforcer Sam Burgess last week, and they've already stated their intention to double down against Taumalolo in Canberra on Saturday.
Cowboys assistant Josh Hannay acknowledged the Green Machine young guns, but was quietly confident his pack, which also includes internationals Matt Scott, Josh Maguire and Jordan McLean, would be too strong.
"They are a good young pack, there's a lot of energy there and I think they have a bit of a chip on their shoulder when they come up against some of the more established packs in the comp," Hannay said.
"(They showed that) against the Rabbitohs last week and I think they'll be looking at our pack as a similar challenge.
"We've got some really established and well-known players in our pack and we've got no doubt that youthful exuberance of theirs is going to come after us.
"But we feel like our forward pack holds up pretty well.
"Having Jason Taumalolo back has been key for us, Jordan McLean has been strong all year, Matt Scott is hitting his straps and Josh Maguire is fit and ready, so we feel comfortable with the forward pack we take in this week."
Maguire must get through the captain's run on Friday to play but is expected to start in what doubles as as a final State of Origin audition for the Maroons lock.
"He's been intolerable for the last couple of weeks, not playing, so we're all as keen as he is to get back out there," Hannay said.
"He's super keen and obviously it's an important time of year for him.
He loves playing State of Origin, that jersey means a lot to him. First and foremost I know he wants to get back into our side and play well and help us build some momentum but also State of Origin will be in the back of his mind."
Canberra (6-4) are looking to snap a two-game losing streak, while the Cowboys (4-6) are gunning for consecutive wins for the first time this season.
Australian Associated Press