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NRL Profile: North Queensland Cowboys

North Queensland Cowboys will be looking to bounce back during the new NRL season, after what turned out to be a disappointing 2023.

After finishing third on the ladder in 2022, hopes were high heading into the season, but they could not reach the same level of performance and missed out on finals altogether.

Coach Todd Payten and his players will be looking to put that right and they are priced at 1.75 to return to the top eight in 2024.

The Cowboys have a quality roster with some star players and, if they click, it could be another big season for them.

Cowboys fell off the horse in 2023

The Cowboys disappointed in 2023 when winning 12 and losing 12 of their fixtures, to finish 11th on the ladder.

It was suggested that after a successful 2022, they may not have hit pre-season with the same intensity as a bit of complacency crept in.

That showed as they lost five of their opening seven games of the season and there was no way back from there.

Their form did improve later in the season, but the damage was done and the Cowboys had to sit back and watch the finals from the sofa.

No doubt lessons will have been learned and the Cowboys will be looking for a strong pre-season and to hit the ground running in 2024.

They are a roughie to win the grand final at 19.00 and will be many peoples’ outside tip to cause an upset.

Huge Dearden boost

The Cowboys have been handed a big boost with the news that star halfback Tom Dearden has penned a contract extension with the club.

A number of NRL rivals were looking to lure him away, but he is now committed to the end of the 2029 campaign.

Dearden has shone since arriving from Brisbane Broncos, forming an exciting partnership in the halves with Chad Townsend.

Both players will again be key for the Cowboys this season, and Dearden committing gives the whole club a lift with the season fast approaching.

Key players

The Cowboys are blessed to have a host of talented players throughout their squad, many of whom represent Queensland at State of Origin.

As well as Townsend and Dearden, they also have the likes of Scott Drinkwater, Kyle Feldt and Valentine Holmes in the backs.

The amount of strength in depth in the forwards is also impressive.

Jeremiah Nanai is one of the best young second-rowers in the game, while the same can be said for prop forward Reuben Cotter.

Throw Jason Taumalolo and Luciano Leilua into the mix as well and there is a lot to like about the Cowboys forwards.

Dolphins first up

The Cowboys begin their 2024 NRL campaign with a derby clash against the Dolphins and they will be keen to get off to a strong start.

They met on two occasions last season, winning one and losing one, and two points will be the order of the day on 10th March when they travel to Suncorp Stadium.

The Cowboys are 1.48 to win, with the Dolphins 2.65.

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