The spotlight may be on Jason Taumalolo ahead of North Queensland's NRL clash with Gold Coast on Friday night after being targeted by the Titans.
But Cowboys coach Paul Green says Valentine Holmes may be poised to shine after relishing time away from the headlines during the coronavirus shutdown.
North Queensland captain Jordan McLean this week said Taumalolo would be fired up for the Townsville game after the Titans claimed the Tongan juggernaut was prone to fatigue and would be worked over on Friday.
However, Gold Coast may now have to worry about Holmes after Green said the ex-Cronulla premiership winner had emerged rejuvenated from the pandemic break.
Holmes was rusty in his first two games for North Queensland before the shutdown, battling to find his feet in the No.1 jersey after his 2019 NFL sojourn.
While Green first thought the coronavirus break may hinder Holmes' progress, he now felt it was an advantage.
"Sometimes I think playing footy week in, week out probably would have been a better thing for him," Green said of Holmes.
"But it has taken a bit of pressure off him, having a break where ... no one was talking about him.
"He was the name on everyone's lips when the comp kicked off (so) from that respect it has probably been a good thing.
"He has trained well, is looking forward to the game so I am pretty excited."
Not that Green discounted the threat Taumalolo posed for Gold Coast.
The Cowboys powerhouse was in top form before the break, setting an NRL record for most run metres by a forward in a match (318m) in their last clash, a round two win over Canterbury.
While Green did not predict more records, he warned Taumalolo would be primed to be at his barnstorming best against the Gold Coast.
"I think it is ridiculous to expect a bloke to run 300m every week," Green said.
"(But) if he plays to his potential he will be there or thereabouts every week.
"He needs to lead from the front and I am sure he will."
Meanwhile, Titans coach Justin Holbrook said he had no problem with Gold Coast lock Jai Arrow revealing this week they would target the Tongan wrecking ball.
"That is a standard comment that anyone would make," he said.
"You want to tire out Taumalolo. I don't think it is extra motivation for them (and) I don't think it would be anything they wouldn't be expecting either."
STATS THAT MATTER
* Gold Coast are approaching a year without a win, losing 13 straight games since last tasting victory on June 9
* North Queensland have won their last nine games against Gold Coast, their longest streak against a team in their club history
* Gold Coast are the only team in NRL history to concede 24 points or more in 13 straight games
Australian Associated Press