James Tamou

Cowboys set to farewell twelve players

North Queensland will say goodbye to nearly a third of their Top 30 squad.

Published by
Matt Clements

The North Queensland Cowboys have announced they will farewell nine NRL squad members at Wednesday's Presentation Night, with a further three reserve grade players also departing.

Headlining the group is veteran forward James Tamou who earlier this season announced his retirement after 307 NRL games. Tamou was part of the Cowboys maiden premiership-winning side in 2015.

The futures of Peta Hiku (Hull Kingston Rovers) and Riley Price (Penrith Panthers) were already known, with both players securing new deals at other clubs for 2024 and beyond.

The other six players who will be farewelled by the club are Mitchell Dunn, Ben Hampton, Brendan Elliot, Gehamat Shibasaki, Jake Bourke and Taniela Sadrugu.

The Cowboys will be saying goodbye to a wealth of experience with the departures. Utility Hampton has played 82 games for the Cowboys since making the switch from Melbourne in 2017. Dunn has been part of the squad since 2018, making 57 appearances for the Townsville club over six seasons.

Elliot has played for five different NRL clubs during his career and wore the Cowboys jersey three times in 2023, with Townsville junior Shibasaki also making two top-grade appearances this season.

Both Bourke and Sadrugu were yet to make their NRL debut.

The Cowboys have also announced that QLD Cup affiliated players Jordan Lipp, Sylvester Namo and Laitia Moceidreke will be departing.

Interestingly, veteran Jordan McLean was not one of the names on the list to be farewelled which suggests the off-contract prop is likely to be offered a new deal for 2024.

Cowboys head coach Todd Payten was reported earlier in the season to be confident that McLean would remain with the club in the future.

"I am optimistic," Payten said regarding if McLean would remain a Cowboy for next season.

"You can never say one hundred per cent certain but I know how settled he is and I know what he means to the club."

Published by
Matt Clements