SEASON REVIEW: On the bench
Such was the dire injury situation faced by the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys in 2017, that only three NRL squad members didn’t play top-flight footy during the year.
JOSH CHUDLEIGH: Earmarked as Jake Granville’s backup hooker in the off-season, Chudleigh – the reigning Queensland Cup Player of the Year – suffered a season-ending ACL injury in pre-season prior to Christmas 2016 and spent the year in rehab. He suffered a setback mid-season and needed more surgery, but is now back running and will be looking for a strong pre-season to press his claims to add to his to-date single NRL appearance. Contracted until the end of 2018.
SHAUN HUDSON: After a full year in the Cowboys’ top squad in 2016 and playing for the Northern Pride in the Queensland Cup, Gold Coast product Shaun Hudson would have been eyeing a NRL debut in 2017. But it wasn’t to be as the 22-year-old centre ruptured his ACL while scoring a try in the pre-season Auckland Nines tournament. A year spent in rehab alongside Matt Scott – who did his knee just weeks after – has Hudson primed to return stronger in 2018 after the club extended his contract by a further year. (Pictured above).
MARCUS JENSEN: After a breakout year for the Cowboys’ under-20s team in 2016, Kingaroy junior Marcus Jensen was offered a two-year deal in Paul Green’s main squad. Playing the whole season with the Northern Pride in the Queensland Cup, Jensen sometimes struggled with the step up in class and will be looking for a solid pre-season over the summer as he chases his NRL dream.