A standout in pre-season training, North Queensland hooker Anthony Mitchell says he wants to prove he can be a long-term Cowboy this season.
After having off-season shoulder surgery that affected his 2013 pre-season, Mitchell has had no major injury issues to deal with since training for the 2014 season began in November.
He’s been a star performer in fitness and endurance training as he not only attempts to convince new head coach Paul Green that he is worthy of a spot in the first 17, but also earn a contract extension beyond this year.
“I've had a good think about where I'm at with my footy and I really want to be here for the next few years, and I want to be back in Townsville with my family," Mitchell said as the Cowboys started their post-Christmas training block.
“I'm hoping this year is the year I can make that happen.
“We'll see what happens over the trial period and into the round games, and hopefully I'm in good enough form to make something happen.”
Mitchell was signed to the Cowboys midway through 2012 after beginning his first grade career in 2010 with Parramatta (seven games), followed by the Sydney Roosters (16 games).
He played four games of NRL last year and was a key figure in the Mackay Cutters lineup that won the Intrust Super Cup premiership for the first time.
With no one locked into the role, there is plenty of competition for the Cowboys' No.9 jersey with Mitchell, Ray Thompson, Cameron King, Scott Moore and Rory Kostjasyn among the options.
“Obviously the first goal is to play first grade week-in, week-out, but at this stage I'm just trying to get every session done as well as I can and build a good rapport with the coaching staff, and earn my crack for round one,” Mitchell said.
“We've got great coaching staff here and I've learnt a lot within the two months we've had them here, and I'd say it's been one of my better pre-seasons.”