The North Queensland Cowboys have confirmed that they will promote seven players into various spots on their NRL and development squad for 2024.

Of the seven, four have been moved straight into the Cowboys' Top 30.

Robert Derby and Zac Laybutt, who both made their NRL debuts in 2023 from train and trail contracts, are mong them.

Both players debuted in Round 13 against the Parramatta Eels, with Laybutt going on to make four appearances and scoring three tries, while Derby was limited to one game.

Derby, who is a winger, made a staggering 215 metres on debut against Parramatta, while Laybutt is a highly-rated 21-year-old centre who averaged 133 metres per game in his four appearances.

The Cowboys have promoted both players to Top 30 deals for 2024 while they currently sit in Papua New Guinea's Pacific Bowl squad for a tri-series against Fiji and the Cook Islands, which is ongoing in Port Moresby.

Meanwhile, middle forward Mia Pua'avase joins the Top 30 as well, having missed the final two months of 2023 through a knee injury. His talent is undeniable though, having made his QLD Cup debut as an 18-year-old the season prior.

In a major coup for the Cowboys, they have also locked down the talented son of Tom Learoyd-Lahrs, Kaiden Lahrs. He joins the NRL squad straight out of high school and will add to the Cowboys' middle third depth in the years to come.

Three players have also been promoted from the Cowboys Young Guns squad to the NRL squad. Zero Tackle understands that these will present as development squad deals for Jamal Shibasaki, Emarly Bitungane and Wil Sullivan.

Shibasaki, the younger brother of Gehamat, can play in the middle or on the edge as a forward and made his QLD Cup debut in 2023 after being named the Mal Meninga Cup player of the year.

Bitungane, who played a trial for the Cowboys in the 2023 pre-season, made nine QLD Cup appearances in 2023 as a middle forward, while Sullivan is highly rated as a second-rower and played six QLD Cup games in 2023.