A quartet of North Queensland Toyota Cowboys has gained selection in the Queensland under-18 team to play New South Wales in the State of Origin curtain-raiser at the MCG on Wednesday 17 June.
Current under-20s Cowboys squad members Bacho Salam and Mitchell Dunn, along with Enari Tuala and Reuben Cotter, will line up for the young Maroons after impressing selectors throughout the season in various competitions.
Salam and Dunn are former members of the Cowboys’ Elite Pathway Program, while Tuala and Cotter are currently in the program.
Salam is a former St Brendan’s (Yeppoon) student who played this year for the Townsville Stingers under-18 team, helping them all the way to a national under-18 grand final.
He is currently playing for University in the Townsville A-Grade competition.
Dunn also played for the Stingers in age-group competition this year, the young half noted for his organisational ability – he currently plays for the Burdekin in the Townsville competition.
Cairns product and Stingers player Tuala will enter the Cowboys under-20s set-up next year and is currently attending Kirwan State High School.
He is a winger/centre and is noted for his powerful running from dummy-half.
Cotter attends Sarina State High School and was part of the Mackay Cutters’ under-18 team.
He will also enter the Cowboys under-20s program next year, the hooker/lock forward noted for his high work ethic and fitness.
Cowboys Elite Pathway Program Manager Micheal Luck said all four players selected in the Queensland Under-18 team were more than worthy selections, and were showing positive progress in their rugby league development with the club.
The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys has a structured pathway for young North Queenslanders aspiring to become professional rugby league players.
Through its academy program – and in conjunction with local, state and school-based competitions – players have the opportunity to potentially progress through to the club’s National Youth Competition (under-20s) team and ultimately its National Rugby League squad.