Promising young guns Michael Bell, Heilum Luki, Ieremia Nanai and Griffin Neame - all products of the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys Pathways Programs - will be promoted into the NRL squad for 2021.
The four starlets have all agreed to development contracts with the Cowboys and will arrive in late November for pre-season training.
Bell spent the 2020 pre-season training block with Cowboys NRL squad and made an impression on the coaches.
This lead the 20-year-old to be included in the squad for the Perth NRL Nines, where he started four of the five games, including the grand final victory over St George Illawarra.
Luki was a key player for the Northern Pride Under 20s victory over the Titans Academy last year.
Nanai was awarded the Michael Morgan Medal for best and fairest in this year’s Aaron Payne Cup.
Neame was originally signed to the Cowboys’ New Zealand Academy but moved to Australia before the 2019 season began.
The 20-year-old spent the 2019 pre-season with the Cowboys before returning to the Townsville Blackhawks before the season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s really pleasing to see these four boys make the transition from our Pathways Programs to the NRL squad” Cowboys Football Programs Manager Glenn Hall said.
“We’re extremely confident all four of these players will handle that level and they deserve their spots,”
“I’m really proud of not only the players, but the work our coaches have put into these boys to help them reach the level they have.
“We are a development club and to see our junior players progress through to the NRL is the ultimate reward for our Pathways Programs.”
“Our Pathway Programs not only revolve around teaching football, but also life skills and encouraging them to be good people and these four boys are the perfect example of that philosophy – they are talented footballers and fine young men.”