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Fraser Barton

Feldt replaces Hammer for Warriors clash

Kyle Feldt returns to the Cowboys starting lineup to face the Warriors after two games out injured. (Scott Radford-Chisholm/AAP PHOTOS) (AAP)

North Queensland will be bolstered by the return of veteran winger Kyle Feldt for their must-win NRL clash against the Warriors, but at the expense of speedster Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow.

Todd Payten has opted to re-call Feldt immediately to his starting side after missing two games due to a hamstring injury, with the Cowboys coach opting for experience over X-factor as they march towards a first finals appearance since 2017.

Friday's match in Townsville with the Warriors is imperative for North Queensland's top-two aspirations with fixtures against South Sydney (away) and Penrith (home) to end the regular season.

They are locked in a battle for second with Cronulla, who trail the Cowboys only on points differential (71) and play three non top-eight teams to finish their year.

Payten said the strength of Feldt out of their own end combined with their strong back five is the reason Tabuai-Fidow has been dropped to the bench role he's occupied most of the season.

"It's a difficult conversation to have with him because I know he prefers to start but it's always about what's best for the team," Payten told reporters on Friday.

"Fedlty has performed stronger on the wing than Hammer and when he gets his chance whether its centre, wing, fullback, he just needs to be ready to go and he's doing the right things at training."

Payten has a number of players still charging in week-in, week-out after earning representative honours this season.

And although pondering the idea of giving them a rest, he said the importance of the next three rounds means he'll pick his strongest 17.

North Queensland will need to be at their very best against a Warriors outfit fresh off a 42-18 home thumping of Canterbury and playing with nothing to lose.

Stacey Jones's side are well out of finals contention but could spring a season double over the Cowboys after edging them in extra time earlier this year.

He's named the same 17 that disposed of the Bulldogs with Shaun Johnson and former Cowboy Daejarn Asi named in the halves.

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