Contenders: Rookie of the Year

The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys will hold their 2014 Presentation Ball at Jupiters Townsville on Friday night – here’s a look at the main Rookie of the Year award contenders.

2013 winner: Kyle Feldt

JOHN ASIATA

In his first year with the Cowboys after joining from the Roosters, the 2013 NYC Team of the Year member showed why North Queensland were keen on recruiting him.

After a settling in period with the Mackay Cutters, Asiata gained his first NRL jersey in round 12 against Melbourne – a 22-0 victory at 1300SMILES Stadium.

He held his bench spot until round 16 and then returned for the back-to-back victories against Cronulla and Canterbury.

It was against the Bulldogs that he produced arguably his best NRL game with 21 tackles going with 12 hit-ups for 109 metres in attack.

The Cutters enjoyed the benefits of his high work rate and back-row ball-playing talents in 18 matches (five tries).

SAM HOARE

Hoare has continued the steady development that is expected from a talented young front-rower.

After playing more than 50 ISC games for the Mackay Cutters, and being 18th man for the Cowboys a number of times, an NRL debut finally came the 23-year-old’s way in round 17 against the Dragons.

He strung together six consecutive matches (four of them wins by NQ) and stood out with his strong carries of the football and watertight defence (just two missed tackles).

The match against the Dragons prevented Hoare from making back-to-back appearances for the Queensland Residents squad – he was selected in the team but had to withdraw due to his NRL commitments.

CURTIS RONA

Rona’s season began in sensational style when he was part of the Cowboys team that came from nowhere to win the inaugural NRL Auckland Nines at Eden Park.

There was some frustration, however, with a fracture to his hand interrupting the end of his pre-season campaign.

Rona’s NRL debut came in round seven at Gosford when he scored a try and ran for an impressive 146 metres in the controversial loss to Manly.

The winger ended up scoring six tries in his seven NRL starts, including a double against Parramatta, and averaging 105.2m in attack.

His 13 Intrust Super Cup appearances for Mackay yielded seven tries.