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 been reportedly working with former NRL mentor and current Australian assistant coach Michael Hagan.

The 57-year-old played 183 games during a career which saw him play for the Canterbury Bulldogs and Newcastle Knights, as well as five State of Origin games, before beginning his coaching career in 2001.

He took over the Newcastle Knights with his first job behind the clipboard, and coached a premiership in his debut season.

Hagan would remain in charge of the Knights until the end of 2006, before shifting to the Parramatta Eels for a two-year stint, which he ended personally, rather than having the club sack him despite a disappointing 2008 season.

He also coached the Queensland team in 2004 and 2005, before being replaced from that role as well as the state brought Mal Meninga in.

He has worked as an assistant to Meninga in the Queensland set-up as well during the state's prolific run of Origin victories.

With experience and skill behind the clipboard, the Newcastle Herald are reporting that Hagan has now been used as something of a mentor by Cowboys' coach Todd Payten throughout the opening exchanges of the 2022 season.

Hagan coached Payten in 1999 playing reserve grade, and the duo have remained friends ever since, with Payten now employing his skills to turn around the Cowboys.

North Queensland have been one of the season's biggest surprise packets to date, sitting in third place after eight rounds, although temporarily bumped to fourth after Parramatta beat Penrith on Friday evening.