Transfer Centre: Cowboys lure Dragons ace north
THE Cowboys have snared the signature of Dragons winger Nene Macdonald, further boosting the strike power of their backline.
Just weeks after the club announced they had signed star fullback Ben Barba on a one-year deal, the Cowboys confirmed on Tuesday they will also have the services of PNG international Macdonald for the next three years.
The Cairns product was granted a release from the Dragons so he could be closer to family, in what is a major boost for the Cowboys after a disappointing 2018 season.
Coach Paul Green said Macdonald would add plenty of depth to the Cowboys' backline.
"He's a north Queensland kid and we like north Queenslanders representing this region," Green said.
"Nene is going to offer plenty of depth to our backline and had a fantastic year for the Dragons.
"I know him on a personal level after coaching him in the under-20s at the Roosters and am confident he will be a good cultural fit for our club as well."
It's clear the Cowboys have been focused on recruiting outside backs for 2019, with former Broncos centre Tom Opacic also joining Barba and Macdonald in Townsville, while Valentine Holmes remains a major target for North Queensland.
Director of football Peter Parr said the loss of the likes of Antonio Winterstein (retirement), Lachlan Coote and Kane Linnett (released) opened the door for the club to make these signings.
"Nene fits the criteria we were looking for," Parr said in a statement.
"He's a very talented athlete and with the retirement of Antonio Winterstein, we were keen to add to our outside backs and in particular, the wing position."
The Cowboys have been one of the most active recruiters so far in the off-season as they overhaul their squad, which finished in 13th place in 2018.
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Recruited: Sean O'Sullivan
Losses: Korbin Sims, Sam Thaiday
Need: A game-managing halfback to complement Anthony Milford. They have the best young pack in the league.
Recruited: John Bateman, Ryan Sutton
Lost: Blake Austin, Junior Paulo, Shannon Boyd
Need: A pair of steady halves and some consistency from their forwards as they attempt to stem their knack for losing the close ones.
Recruited: Jack Cogger, Nick Meaney, Corey Harawira-Naera, Christian Crichton
Lost: Josh and Brett Morris
Need: Some experience in their outside backs and some value for money from their new recruits.
Recruited: Josh Morris
Lost: Luke Lewis, Edrick Lee, Ricky Leutele, Jesse Ramien
Need: A bit of depth in the outside backs following a handful of departures. Other than that, they've regenerated well.
Recruited: Tyrone Peachey, Shannon Boyd
Lost: Kane Elgey
Need: Some fire power and finishing ability out wide to complement their hardworking pack.
Recruited: Kane Elgey
Lost: Shaun Lane, Akuila Uate, Tom Wright
Need: A halves partner for Daly Cherry-Evans and a few classy backs. Oh, and a good coach.
Recruited: Albert Vete
Lost: Billy Slater, Tim Glasby, Ryan Hoffman
Need: It's hard to replace the irreplaceable and the Storm will just rely on their production line to keep rolling on. They'll back the likes of Jahrome Hughes, Scott Drinkwater and Brandon Smith.
Recruited: Tim Glasby, Jesse Ramien, Edrick Lee, Mason Lino
Lost: Jack Cogger, Chris Heighington, Brock Lamb, Jacob Lillyman, Nick Meaney
Need: Some experience up front to show their young forwards the way and a good, experienced hooker.
Recruited: Nene Macdonald, Ben Barba, Tom Opacic
Lost: Johnathan Thurston, Antonio Winterstein, Lachlan Coote, Shaun Fensom, Kane Linnett
Need: While they have a great pack, they're about to undergo a changing of the guard.
Recruited: Blake Ferguson, Shaun Lane, Junior Paulo
Lost: Cameron King, Beau Scott, Tony Williams
Need: Some big bodies in their outside backs and go-forward.
Recruited: Tim Grant
Lost: Tyrone Peachey, Corey Harawira-Naera, Christian Chrichton, Tim Browne
Need: Not much. An experienced hooker would make them the complete package.
Recruited: Corey Allan, Bayley Sironen.
Lost: Jason Clark, Angus Crichton.
Need: A bit of forward depth and some size on the bench.
ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA
Recruited: Korbin Sims
Lost: Nene Macdonald, Leeson Ah Mau, Jason Nightingale
Need: Depth in the outside backs following the departures of Nene Macdonald and Jason Nightingale.
Recruited: Angus Crichton, Ryan Hall, Brett Morris
Lost: Blake Ferguson, Ryan Matterson, Paul Momirovski, Sean O'Sullivan
Need: A replacement for outgoing metre-eater Blake Ferguson
Recruited: Leeson Ah Mau
Lost: Simon Mannering, Albert Vete
Need: Some size and experience in the forwards to give their all-international spine room to move.
Recruited: Ryan Matterson, Paul Momirovski
Lost: Tui Lolohea, Kevin Naiqama, Sauaso Sue
Need: Some point-scoring ability in their backs and forwards. And they are likely to be in need of a good coach.
- with AAP