Both Ben Hampton and Brendan Elliot have been handed one-year contract extensions by the North Queensland Cowboys, keeping them part of the Townsville-based club until at least the end of the 2023 NRL season.
Both players were off-contract at the end of the 2022 season, but have done enough to retain their status in Todd Payten's squad moving forward.
Hampton and Elliot both sit on the fringes of the first-grade squad, and have played during the Origin window, but are otherways out of Payten's best 17 at the Cowboys, where things have gone from strength to strength this season in an incredible run of form which has turned heads.
While Hampton has played 81 games since joining the Cowboys from the Melbourne Storm in 2017 - where he played another 35 games between 2013 and 2016 - he has managed just two games this year, both in the halves.
Hampton has plenty of strings to his utility bow, but has struggled to break into a backline which has often seen a starting option - such as Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow - placed on the bench since Scott Drinkwater came into the team and took the number one jersey.
“Ben goes about his work in a selfless manner every day with the goal of making our team better,” Cowboys General Manager of Football Micheal Luck said in a club statement.
“His attitude is infectious and our group is better in every aspect when he is around.
“Benny can play a number of different positions and players like that are invaluable.”
Elliot, on the other hand, returned to the NRL this season as a one-year hiatus in the English Super League. Previously playing for the Sydney Roosters, Newcastle Knights, Gold Coast Titans and Manly Sea Eagles, the journeyman has played more than ten games in a season on just three occasions in the NRL since his 2014 debut, playing a total of 69 games.
He has made three appearances for the Cowboys so far this year, and the ability to play fullback, wing or centre has added nicely to the club's depth despite the lack of overall use.
“Brendan has been a terrific addition since he came on board. Since day one, he’s been everything we hoped he’d be – an absolute professional who does his job with minimal fuss, trains hard and in his couple of games has shown himself to be really valuable through his ability to play different positions at a high level,” Luck added on the outside back.
“It’s great to have a guy like Brendan commit to us for another year.”