The Dolphins have reportedly won the race for North Queensland Cowboys' breakout star Kulikefu Finefeuiaki.

The gun forward, who would have been likely to have a prominent role for the Cowboys moving forward after the club released Luciano Leilua to the St George Illawarra Dragons in the early exchanges of the 2023 season, has instead decided to make the move south according to News Corp.

It has been reported in recent times that the Dolphins could guarantee the young gun a starting spot, whereas the Cowboys couldn't given they have Jeremiah Nanai and Heilum Luki in their ranks.

That took another turn today, with Luki re-signing at the Cowboys on a five-year deal that will keep him in Townsville until at least the end of 2029.

It's also understood, per the report, that the Dolphins also had more financial power to offer the youngster, with Finefeuiaki set to make the switch on a deal believed to be worth around $800,000 per year.

It's understood the Cowboys were only likely in the ballpark of $600,000 per year, with the 20-year-old set to sign for three years with the Dolphins, where he will become part of the new era under Kristian Woolf, who is set to take over head coaching duties from Wayne Bennett from the commencement of the 2024 campaign.

The Cowboys will now likely look through their internal pathways to promote more young guns into their squad, with Luki and Nanai to take a large majority of the minutes in the starting back-row positions.

Finefeuiaki, on the other hand, will likely walk straight into the Dolphins' 17 in a second-row combination alongside a returning Tom Gilbert, who misses the entire 2023 season with an ACL injury.

The Dolphins also have a host of veteran forwards, with Jesse Bromwich, Kenneath Bromwich, Felise Kaufusi and Mark Nicholls all believed to be weighing up their futures.