NRL Rd 16 - Sharks v Cowboys
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 29: Scott Drinkwater of the Cowboys runs the ball during the round 16 NRL match between the Cronulla Sharks and the North Queensland Cowboys at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium on August 29, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

Off-contract Cowboys veteran Scott Drinkwater knows he is playing for his future at the club.

And he won't leave any stone unturned in his bid to earn a new contract as North Queensland looks to turn its recent woes around and be aggressive in the free agent market.

Drinkwater is one of 10 Cowboys off-contract at the end of the season and the club is cashed up following Michael Morgan's retirement and Josh McGuire's departure to the Dragons.

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The 23-year old wants to stay at the Cowboys but understands he needs to string together some good form to be seen in their future plans.

"I want to stay here so I've got to keep impressing week-in and week-out," Drinkwater told NRL.com.

"I think it's a case of getting some good footy under my belt. I think the club wants to see how I play and how I progress this year before moving on those talks.

"They've got a couple of big decisions to make with positions, the new coach is probably going to want to bring in new players, make it his own roster.

"You don't want to sign a contract and get lazy with it anyway. I want to keep moving forward as a player.

"If you're off-contract and you want another one it can get you playing a bit harder so that's the approach I'm taking."

Drinkwater now has 32 NRL games under his belt, originally crossing from the Melbourne Storm at the end of 2018.

SEE ALSO: Rabbitohs begin plan for Reynolds successor

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Having split his time at the Cowboys between fullback and at five-eighth, Drinkwater is keen to establish himself in the halves.

"I want to stay in the halves, especially if Val [Holmes] is at fullback," he said.

"He's a damaging ball-runner, he takes the line on and I think it suits both of us. The longer we can play together the better than combo goes with a bit of instinctive footy.

"You could say losing Morgo we need a senior half. But Benny Hampton handled that organising role well [against the Tigers].

"I can't control much of what we do beyond my role, playing eyes-up, taking short sides and swinging to the open side.

"As much as I wanted to play in the halves I didn't do much there in the pre-season. My mindset wasn't focused on that, it was on fullback.

"In saying that I've played there my whole life and a fair bit of my NRL career too. I wasn't too fazed, it was just some new combinations out there on the edges and a new defensive system that I think suits me.

"There's still a lot of work to do in defence there, a couple of tries were from my missed tackles but it's a decent start."

The Cowboys have already been linked to the likes of  Rabbitoh Adam Reynolds, Bronco Tom Dearden, Tiger Luke Brooks, Bulldog Jayden Okunbor and Storm duo Dale Finucane and Nicho Hynes as they look to overhaul their squad.

 

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