The North Queensland Cowboys are reportedly monitoring the contract situation of Melbourne Storm youngster Jack Howarth.

A former junior Queensland Maroon, Howarth signed a five-year deal with the Storm in late 2022 that was set to lock him into the club until at least the end of 2027.

Able to play second-row or centre, he has been rated as one of the best youngsters in the game, but as yet, has failed to make an impact at NRL level, playing just a single NRL game.

Not helped by injuries, Howarth appears to have now fallen even further down Melbourne's pecking order after Joe Chan, who joined the club at the end of last year, made his NRL debut in Round 1, starting on the edge.

While there has been no suggestion Howarth is agitating for an exit from the Storm, Melbourne may be tempted to let him go given his high relatively contract price and, to this point, lack of return.

Melbourne have some depth on the edge, and it's clear the club lack a starting prop, which could well be where they reinvest any money over the coming 12 to 24 months.

News Corp are reporting though that the Cowboys are interested in Howarth.

North Queensland have already lost Luciano Leilua to the St George Illawarra Dragons in recent times, although that release from the remainder of his deal in Townsville was somewhat out of necessity given Kulikefu Finefeuiaki, Heilum Luki and Jeremiah Nanai were also competing for minutes in the second-row.

But now there is real talk that Feinefeuiaki could chase a starting spot at the Dolphins, leaving the Cowboys short on depth in the second-row from a position of strength just months ago.

Howarth was born in Mackay, and while he spent his school days in Brisbane, a move back to North Queensland wouldn't be all that unfamiliar for Howarth.

While the Cowboys would likely only chase Howarth if Fenefeuiaki left the club given Heilum Luki is tipped to re-sign in the coming days, all the stars may well align for that to occur, with the Dolphins set to offer the young second-rower big money.

Howarth, on top of his one NRL game, represented the Maori All-Stars this year, while Finefeuiaki has played 13 NRL matches.