North Queensland Cowboys veteran halfback Chad Townsend has moved to squash rumours he could be looking for an early exit from the club.

Contracted until at least the end of 2024 after he moved to the Cowboys on a three-year deal ahead of the 2022 season, Townsend has become a focal part of the club.

That said, he has struggled enormously throughout 2023 to find the form which helped take the Cowboys to a preliminary final on home soil last year, having finished in the top four.

In what was a blindingly good season for Townsend - his best in some years - his kicking game and control for the Cowboys along with the combination he formed with Queensland fringe State of Origin player Thomas Dearden was a big part in the side's run.

That form has dropped right off in 2023 though with Todd Payten's side winning just 6 of their first 14 games and likely requiring at least 6, if not more, wins in their final 10 games to battle for a spot in the top eight.

The lack of form has led to whispers that Townsend could ultimately find a new club, however, he told News Corp that he won't be going anywhere until at least the end of next year, although appeared to not rule out the prospect of retiring at the end of his current contract, when he will have turned 34.

“I'm here next year and beyond that I'm not too sure,” he told the publication.

“I turn 33 next year and physically I feel good. I've got energy and a buzz to compete every day and get better.

“When I don't have that, I think it will be time for me to stop.

“At the moment I'm giving my all and trying to make the most of my situation.”

It's believed the whispers regarding Townsend's future have grown so loud, the club have confirmed with Townsend that he won't be seeking an early exit.

Despite his form drop off, coach Todd Payten is still a big fan of Townsend's and has said as much publically, and the club view him as a big part of their plans over the next 18 months as they attempt to push into the finals for a second time in a row, following what was a disastrous 2021 season.

Townsend was seen as a key part of the reason the club were able to turn around so quickly from what was ultimately a bottom-two finish in the season prior to the veteran halfback - who won a premiership with the Cronulla Sharks in 2016 - arriving in Townsville.