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An ironman in 2015 – where he played almost every single minute of the season – tough-as-nails back-rower Ethan Lowe added attacking sting to his game in 2016.

Fronting up for his fourth season in Cowboys colours, Lowe entered the new campaign full of confidence after being a key member of the 2015 premiership-winning team.

Known for his fitness and high work rate, Lowe emerged this year as a genuine attacking option on that right edge, the Goondiwindi product storming in for a career-best nine tries.

During the back end of the season – coinciding with the emergence of youngster Coen Hess – Lowe spent some game time with the big boppers in the middle of the field, showcasing his value and versatility to head coach Paul Green.

A concerning back injury late in the season ended Lowe’s time on the field after the Week 1 finals match against the Storm, the 25-year-old undergoing surgery.

But Lowe's disappointment of a forced early end to the season was assuaged when he was named the club’s most improved player in the end-of-season awards.

Signing a contract extension that will keep him a Cowboy until 2019, Lowe looms as a senior figure fast filling up with young tearaways.

2016 STATS

Played: 25
: 9
Goals: 7
Run metres: 3,130 (125m per match)
Average tackles
: 32
Tackle breaks: 41
Line breaks: 8