James Tamou labels Broncos derby "mini-Origin"

James Tamou has labelled North Queensland's early season derby with Brisbane a "mini-Origin" as his Cowboys prepare for a Friday night blockbuster at Suncorp Stadium.

Tamou enjoyed a swansong return to North Queensland in their opening round 19-18 win over Canberra with 11 minutes off the bench in his first game at the club since 2016.

The 15-year NRL veteran admitted he was nervous but a raucous crowd quickly settled his butterflies before Chad Townsend kicked them home to victory.

After an emotional build-up to round one, Tamou says the most important thing his side can do is channel derby passion into getting the small things right.

"It's easy to get caught up in that team emotion environment, especially in a big game like this," he said.

"In my first stint up here, with the crowd it was like a mini-Origin, especially with the Broncos doing so well.

"But you've just got to really narrow down your focus, and you can't read too much into it. Just concentrate on your job and get everything right during the week and just rely on the process."

The 34-year-old, who scored North Queensland's second try in their 2015 grand final win over Brisbane, will again start from the bench in an unchanged line-up named by coach Todd Payten on Tuesday.

The Cowboys will look to write their second-half wrongs, after a pulsating opening half against the Raiders led to three unanswered tries before Townsend's game-winning drop goal.

Co-captain Townsend said he was impressed by Brisbane's defence in their win over Penrith away from home and identified their middles as key strike points.

"They defended like their lives were on the line and had a lot a lot of control with their defence and they were very aggressive," he said.

"Payne Haas and Patrick Carrigan have been great over the last two seasons, the way they cart the ball, they're very dominant with their carries.

"We need to just make sure that we do a good job on those guys and then we need to make sure that we ice our opportunities."