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Veteran back-rower Gavin Cooper’s undoubted highlight in 2016 was being able to – once and for all –put to bed one of rugby league’s great modern-day speculations: Would the hard-working Murgon product ever crack the Origin arena?

Cooper-as-an-Origin-bolter stories have been doing the rounds for the best part of a decade and this year the 31-year-old Cowboy was able to rule a line underneath those musings with his Maroons debut in Game III, the wily forward scoring a try on debut.

At club level, Cooper – in his seventh season as a Cowboy and 11th in the NRL – led from the front, playing in all but one club match, churning out consistent high-level performances as the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys went within one game of consecutive grand final appearances. 

2016 STATS

Played: 26
Tries: 9
Runs: 305
Run metres: 2,489 (96m per match)
Average tackles: 31 
Tackle breaks: 41
Line breaks: 9
Offloads: 9

Acknowledgement of Country

North Queensland Cowboys respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.