The North Queensland Cowboys have announced that Reuben Cotter and Tom Dearden will be the new co-captains of the club.

The decision to name the two players will see them replace Jason Taumalolo and Chad Townsend, who will step back from their captaincy role but will remain in the club's leadership group.

At 22 years old, Dearden's appointment will make him the youngest captain in the history of the Cowboys, overtaking NRL legend Johnathan Thurston, who assumed the role at the age of 23.

“This decision was not made lightly and is certainly no reflection on Jason and Chad's leadership," Cowboys Head Coach Todd Payten said via

"This was a long-term decision for our club. We have a number of senior players entering the back ends of their careers, which is why we have made the decision to make a change now to help our new captains develop while still having experienced shoulders to lean on for advice in the playing group."

“They represent everything we stand for and who we are as a club.

"They're local kids, they're relentlessly dedicated to this club and their teammates, but they've also had some life challenges which they have had to work their way through and now they're representative players.

“Reuben and Tom lead everything we do, whether that be on the field, in the video room or preparing for games. They are terrific examples to the rest of our playing group.”

NRL Rd 11 - Cowboys v Dragons
TOWNSVILLE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 13: Tom Dearden of the Cowboys runs the ball during the round 11 NRL match between North Queensland Cowboys and St George Illawarra Dragons at Qld Country Bank Stadium on May 13, 2023 in Townsville, Australia. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

Reuben Cotter and Tom Dearden both spoke about the prestigious honour to be named as the new co-captains of the club and were honoured to help lead the team into the future.

“This is a massive privilege. I have supported this club my entire life and now to be able to captain the Cowboys is an honour I will never take for granted,” Cotter said.

“I went through some tough times early in my career, but I always had the support of the club and my family and now six years on I'm fortunate enough to be able to captain the Cowboys. I'm grateful and excited for the opportunity ahead of us.

“I want this team to be viewed as winners, but just as importantly I want our members and fans to see us as hard working and resilient. The people of North Queensland band together in the face of adversity and I would like this team to represent our community the same way.”

“I played all my junior football in North Queensland, I supported the club growing up, so this is a great honour for me to able to represent this region as captain of the Cowboys,” added Dearden.

“When you look back at the history of the players who have captained this club, it includes some of the best to ever wear a Cowboys jersey and to be able to follow in their footsteps is very special.

“Reuben and myself are very lucky to have great leaders in Chad, Jason and Jordan McLean at the club as we transition into our new roles. They have already been extremely helpful and I know we will be turning to them for advice throughout the season.”