North Queensland Cowboys veteran halfback Chad Townsend has paid credit to the instant impact of new assistant coach James Maloney at the club.

Maloney and Townsend, who spent their fair share of time as teammates for the Cronulla Sharks - including in the 2016 premiership-winning season - are now working with one another again, this time in a mentor-player relationship.

And it's one the Cowboys need to work after a poor 2023.

Todd Payten's side fell short of the finals in a dismal season, despite having had hosting rights to a prelimniary final just 12 months earlier.

Maloney's signing is part of an all new look assistant coaching staff, and was trumpeted as a big in for the Cowboys.

Townsend told SEN Radio that Maloney, who will be working with the side's attack and specifically spending time with the spine, has already brought ideas into how the Cowboys should play footy, suggesting Maloney's coaching session this week was the best he had ever had.

“I've had a chat with him and (it's clear) how he wants us to play footy," Townsend said on SEN Radio.

“We had a field session the other day and it was the best field session we've ever had because Jimmy (Maloney) was throwing up ideas in attack.

“The big thing is that he's a winner and he's got such an intelligent footy brain.

“That's why the club is so excited to have him here because he's so calm in big games.

“Jimmy is also very competitive and he always makes everyone around him play better.”

Maloney, now 37 and in his first coaching role, played 319 games across his time in both the NRL, English Super League and top level French competition following the end of his stint with the Catalans Dragons, while Townsend, off-contract at the end of the year and 32 years of age, could be potentially entering his final NRL campaign.