It's not all that often that Origin quality halves become available on the open market.

We're extremely spoilt this season as both a NSW Origin regular and a Queenslander with an Origin to his name have officially become off contract as of November 1st.

We all know about the multi club chase to secure the services of Jarome Luai, but there's an equally sough after number six available.

That player is of course Cowboys five-eight Tom Dearden.

Although the Cowboys are desperate to retain him, there have been a number of clubs linked to the 22 year-old.

Of course this is all speculation but the five clubs below are the five most likely destinations for Tom Dearden:

I've left the Bulldogs off as they have made it very known that they are chasing Jarome Luai. If Luai were to re-sign with the Panthers, expect the Dogs to be in on Dearden.


5. North Queensland Cowboys

As always, let's get the boring one out of the way first. There remains a very real possibility that Dearden won't go anywhere and will instead re-sign with the Cowboys.

Cowboys fans are desperate to see the club retain their prized playmaking asset, and for good reason.

The 22 year-old is an Origin representative and still has his best footy ahead of him. He was their undoubted best creative half in 2023.

He has 10 try assists, seven tries and forced five drop outs despite his club turning in a shocker this season.

With his halve's partner Chad Townsend now sitting at 32 year's of age, it's time for Dearden to take over the side and make it is.

The Cowboys will hope that he does this in 2024 and for many, many more seasons to come.

Expect the club to do absolutely everything within their power to retain Dearden's services, even if it means moving on a player elsewhere.



  1. Lachlan Ilias and Cody Walker are both off-contract at the end of 2025.

    If Souths were to buy Dearden for 2025 onwards, they could punt Ilias if he doesn’t come good this year, and move Walker to half-back for a year.

    At the end of the 2024 season, Walker will be pushing 35, so a more likely scenario is that he could be “persuaded” to take medical retirement at the end of this coming season and free up the salary cap space for Deardon.

    On a separate club, I would not be surprised to see Melbourne decide that Cam Munster on $1.3M is no longer worth the money and take steps to move him on. It’s hard to see how they do that other than on medical grounds – and he has certainly been playing like he is busted (and what was Bellamy doing to let him go and play for Australia instead of getting fit for the pre-season?)
    If they can figure out a way, don’t be surprised to see the Storm showing interest.
    If nothing else, the fact that they are looking should give Cam a clue that he needs to put the club before himself.

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