Despite reports to the contrary, Cowboys centre Justin O’Neill signed a three-year contract extension last year.
The 28-year-old, now in his fifth season as a Cowboy, re-signed with North Queensland until the end of 2021 after playing 21 games in 2018. However, with no official announcement of the deal, it was widely reported that O’Neill had merely exercised a one-year option for 2019.
In an interview with NRL.com, O’Neill said the confusion stemmed from another interview he had given shortly after signing.
“It was really weird because I had spoken to the club last year and they had offered me another three years and I said I was happy to re-sign, and then I did an all-in interview and someone said ‘you have taken up your option’ and I sort of said ‘yeah, I am definitely staying’,” O’Neill told NRL.com.
“So every interview after that they would say ‘you’ve taken up your option’ and in the end it started to make me rethink to myself ‘I am sure I have re-signed for three years, haven’t I?’
“It kept coming up so in the end I went back and checked with my manager about what had definitely happened…and yes, I had definitely signed for another three years.”
O’Neill went on to say that he had no intention of leaving.
“First and foremost, if I was to get another few more years at the Cowboys I was always going to take that,” he said.
“In negotiations they had offered three years so I didn’t want to look elsewhere, and that’s because some of the achievements I’ve had here at the Cowboys have been highlights of my career.”
The Cowboys will look to get their season back on track when they face the Eels at 1300SMILES Stadium on Saturday.