South Sydney coach Wayne Bennett still can't believe he was able to lure Ethan Lowe away from North Queensland.
Lowe moved to Redfern after six seasons, one premiership and 108 NRL matches for the Cowboys.
Since joining Bennett at Souths, Lowe has made an instant impact at his new club and was arguably Queensland's best on his State of Origin debut in the game three decider in Sydney earlier this month.
The 28-year-old returns to Townsville this Saturday with the Bunnies facing the Cowboys after being rested for last weekend's one-point win over Manly following his Origin exertions.
"We've done well getting him," Bennett said.
"He came down on a lot less money as well. He showed he was pretty committed to what he believed in – that was getting an opportunity. And we've given him that. The rest he's done really well.
"I'm not sure what happened up there. I just coached him enough times that I knew what he brought.
"It was a good opportunity for us and we grabbed it."
Bennett will need all hands on deck for the clash with a resurgent Cowboys team which has won four of its past seven matches including last weekend's upset over the Sydney Schedules in Gosford.
Sam Burgess is still sidelined due to his shoulder surgery and Bennett admits his forward pack has a "full night's work" to stop a Cowboys pack including rampaging Jason Taumalolo, veteran Gavin Cooper and Lowe's Queensland teammate Josh McGuire.
The Cowboys are still without Michael Morgan, who is continuing his recovery from a second concussion in a fortnight during the Origin decider, while Jordan Kahu (eye socket) has also been sidelined.
Murray Taulagi will make his NRL debut on the wing while Javid Bowen shifts into the centers to replace Kahu's only change to the team which beat the Roosters.
Saturday's match will also be the first for the Cowboys after veteran prop Matt Scott announced he would retire at season's end.
Coach Paul Green said he was the 33-year-old's hopeful decision to add extra motivation to his teammates.
"I'd like to see the rest of the playing group respond and show him respect and give him the farewell he deserves," Green said.
KEY MATCH STATS
* The past eight clashes between these clubs have all been in Queensland with Souths taking matches to Cairns in the past three seasons before the teams faced each other in Brisbane during Magic Round earlier this year. Both teams have four wins in that run.
* Paul Green will coach his 150th match at the helmet of the Cowboys this weekend with Graham Murray (161) the only other man to reach that milestone for North Queensland.
* Paul Green and Wayne Bennett have faced off 14 times with both coaches claiming seven wins each.