TOWNSVILLE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 14: Jeremiah Nanai of the Cowboys scores a try during the round 22 NRL match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Wests Tigers at QCB Stadium, on August 14, 2021, in Townsville, Australia. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

The Wests Tigers are set to make a big money move in an attempt to steal young talent Jeremiah Nanai off the North Queensland Cowboys.

Nanai is part of an excellent crop of young edge forwards at the Townsville-based club.

Todd Payten has Nanai, Heilum Luki and Ben Condon to call upon this year, while Tom Gilbert also has the ability to play on the edge despite being a middle forward by trade.

Condon missed selection entirely in Round 1, however, Nanai and Luki are seen as the two big talents, and the Cowboys reportedly have an offer at around $500,000 per year on the table for the star.

TOWNSVILLE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 20: Heilum Luki of the Cowboys runs onto the field during the round 11 NRL match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Newcastle Knights at QCB Stadium, on May 20, 2021, in Townsville, Australia. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

Nanai has told them he isn't ready to sign a deal yet though according to Brent Read, who told Triple M that the Cowboys are "very keen."

“He’s off contract at the end of the year and the Wests Tigers are after him, they’re very keen on him,” Read said.

“Apparently he’s told the (Cowboys) that ‘I want to wait a few weeks, see how the season goes’ but I think you’re going to find he’s going to be the next million-dollar teenager in this game.

“We’re talking three or four years at $1.5 to $2 millions dollars (total), that will be what I believe the Cowboys will offer, it just comes down to whether another club comes over the top of that but they’re desperate to keep him up there.

“He wants to wait three or four weeks but on his form (in Round 1) you’d say every week they wait his price is going to go up, he’s a gun.”

The 19-year-old was a standout during Sunday evening's dour season opening loss to the Canterbury Bulldogs, running for 153 metres from 14 carries, including 58 post contact metres. He also had a line break, three tackle busts and 32 tackles with only a single miss.

Further complicating the Cowboys mission to hang onto Nanai is the impending arrival of Luciano Leilua.

NRL Rd 25 - Wests Tigers v Bulldogs
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 05: Luciano Leilua of the Tigers walks off the field during the round 25 NRL match between the Wests Tigers and the Canterbury Bulldogs at Moreton Daily Stadium, on September 05, 2021, in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)

His signature for 2023 is seen as bringing another leader to Townsville, however, the move is sure to leave at least one of their young trio offside with the club given a likely lack of minutes.

Luki is locked down with the club until the end of 2025, while Condon's contract expires at the end of 2023.

Nanai has been named to start once again in Round 2 when the Cowboys tackle the Canberra Raiders on Saturday evening, with Tom Gilbert also in the second row, while Heilum Luki and Mitchell Dunn will come from the bench.

Condon has been named amongst the reserves and seems to be behind his second row counterparts during the early exchanges of the season.

The Tigers will be out to continue bolstering their forward pack, having signed Isaiah Papali'i from the Parramatta Eels in an effort to replace Leilua for 2023 thus far.