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Year 4 - 1998

Rugby League began a new chapter in Australia in 1998 with the unification of the game resulting in the National Rugby League competition.

The Cowboys were very successful in the early rounds of the competition, and by the sixth round had won five matches, sharing equal first place on the premiership ladder.

Vastly experienced Australian representative Dale Shearer "came home" to wear the Cowboy colours, joining New Zealand International John Lomax and Fijian wing sensation Noa Nadruku with the club.

These high profile players, along with a very experienced forward pack, led the way for early season success.

Despite being the most successful year since establishment for the club, the season ended poorly with a disappointing 16th place in the 20 team competition.

Injuries again proved a major hurdle to success with up to nine first grade players out of contention for some matches.

A highlight for the season was a comeback staged by the Cowboys against Penrith in round 12.

Down 0-26 at halftime, the Cowboys stormed home to win 36-28.

This was followed by the club's biggest victory in its four year history with a 40-10 win over Sydney Wests.

These victories became distant memories, however, when in the last match of the season a record equalling 0-62 loss was suffered at the hands of North Sydney.

Season statistics

  • Captains: Ian Roberts, John Lomax
  • Coach: Tim Sheens
  • Principal Sponsor: Overflow
  • Won 9, lost 15 (led competition after 6 rounds)
  • Points for 361, points against 556
  • Highest point scorer: Josh Hannay 118 (15 tries, 29 goals)
  • Finished: 16th (20 team competition)

Representative players/coaches

  • John Lomax: New Zealand