North Queensland Cowboys Scrimmage and Fan Day In Ayr
AYR, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 13: Cowboys coach Todd Payten looks on during a North Queensland Cowboys Scrimmage game against the Townsville Blackhawks at Rugby Park on February 13, 2021 in Ayr, Australia. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

The North Queensland Cowboys have locked in Brendan Frei to join their top 30 for the remainder of the 2022 season.

The news that Frei was set to sign for the Townsville-based club was first reported last week, with the Cowboys looking to round out their squad and add coverage for what could be a tricky State of Origin period ahead.

While the club have lost Jason Taumalolo for at least the next week to injury, it's also tipped that Jeremiah Nanai could be in contention for a spot in the Queensland team, while Reuben Cotter has also come well into calculations over the last month.

Frei, an edge forward who can also play in the middle, has been turning out for the Norths Devils in the QLD Cup thus far this year, having previously been in the Sydney Roosters pathway, before spending time at the Brisbane Broncos, although the 25-year-old is yet to make his NRL debut.

Having been with the Devils since 2019, Frei has struggled over the last two years with a lack of second tier football thanks to COVID, but has been excellent at the start of this year, starting in the second row for the last five weeks.

He has five tries in seven games, and is also averaging 116 metres per game, as well as 18 tackles per game at almost 98 per cent efficiency.

A standout in reserve grade, Cowboys head of football Michael Luck said he was a player the club have had their eye on.

“We’ve been watching Brendan closely for a little while and he is a guy we believe has some tools which will translate well to the NRL level,” Cowboys General Manager of Football Micheal Luck said.

“He carries the ball strongly and moves well defensively on an edge. He has been a real presence for a number of years for Norths, and his form has gone to another level this year.

“We have always been looking to add depth to the squad in the forwards and in particular the second row.

We have Jeremiah and Heilum as well as Tom Gilbert who have all done a wonderful job so far this year, but we also wanted to ensure we had more coverage to our depth which we hope gets exposed during the Origin period with players representing their states.”