In the next instalment of his NRL Recruitment Watch series, NICK TEDESCHI looks at who the North Queensland Cowboys are chasing, who they should be going after, and the areas on the roster that need shoring up for 2018.
Needs: The Cowboys are virtually set for 2018, particularly after the recruitment of Jordan McLean to fill a big need up front and Te Maire Martin to provide cover for Johnathan Thurston. All the Cowboys really need now is depth and they won’t be spending up on that. The club may look for a fullback to upgrade Lachlan Coote but that would seem unlikely.
— Trent Slatter (@trentslatter) July 14, 2017
2018 Recruits: Jordan McLean, Te Maire Martin, Carlin Anderson
2018 Losses: Kalyn Ponga
Off-Contract: Ray Thompson, Ben Spina, Gideon Gela-Mosby, Kyle Laybutt, Patrick Kaufusi, Corey Jensen
Rumours: North Queensland have been strongly linked to Charlie Gubb from the Warriors in a rumour that has been around for a long time. The Cowboys were supposed to be chasing Kane Elgey but that appears unlikely following the signature of Te Maire Martin.
Out of favour at the Warriors, Gubb looked a good bet to join the Cowboys before the June 30 transfer cut-off, but the club is happy to battle on with their current crop of props for the remainder of 2017.
@BuzzRothfield Charlie Gubb to Cowboys before June 30? Any plan B for cowboys?
— Mayor of Rocky (@damienegan2001) June 5, 2017
Players to Target: North Queensland won’t be chasing a lot of players and will be more focussed on retaining the likes of Gideon Gela-Mosby (pictured top) and Kyle Laybutt. Players at the level of Gubb or Jai Arrow would be the biggest names they would or could look to chase.
Jai Arrow 86 metres and 20 tackles in the first 25 mins. Broncos have to keep this kid. #NRLKnightsBroncos
— Eden Richards (@Eden_Richards) July 15, 2017
Aside from the blue-chip pick-ups of Martin and McLean, the Cowboys have done an outstanding job in stitching up the nucleus of their squad in what shaped as a tough juggling act with so many players coming off-contract at the end of 2017. Premiership heroes Thurston, Matt Scott, Jason Taumalolo, Gavin Cooper, Scott Bolton, Kyle Feldt and John Asiata all extended with the Townsville club before rival clubs could get their mits on them.
— Oz Bush Telegraph (@ozbushtel) March 25, 2017