Star half Michael Morgan is set to become the first homegrown “Cowboy for life” after agreeing to a five-year contract extension with the club.
The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys today announced Morgan, 26, would remain at the club until the end of the 2023 season as football staff plan long-term for life after Johnathan Thurston.
Thurston and Morgan will spearhead the Cowboys’ attack this season in what will be Thurston’s last year of playing, with Morgan stepping into the chief playmaker’s role from 2019 onwards.
It was a role he carried out with class and skill last year during the Cowboys’ golden run to a second grand final appearance in three seasons after Thurston was sidelined with injury.
“I’m stoked to be staying at the Cowboys, a club I grew up supporting and, later in life, proudly playing for,” Morgan said of his re-signing.
“Townsville is my home, I’ve been involved with the Cowboys since I was 17, I made my NRL debut as a Cowboy and all the positives in my career have come from me proudly wearing this great team’s colours.
To be able to continue that journey and keep playing alongside a great bunch of blokes – and for our excellent coaching staff and our wonderful, passionate members and fans – is pretty special.Michael Morgan
Cowboys General Manager – Football Peter Parr said Morgan’s career at the club to date typified what it meant to be a homegrown Cowboy.
“Michael was a Townsville junior, was identified at an early age, and came up through our elite pathways system, from which point he earned an NRL contract with the club,” Parr said.
“It’s no secret the sort of career that Michael has had since then. Since making his NRL debut as a teenager in 2010, he has helped the club to its maiden premiership and two grand final appearances in three seasons. He’s also made his Queensland and Australian debuts while playing for the Cowboys, something he and the club can be extremely proud of.
“To have him remain a Cowboy for a further five seasons is tremendous news for Michael, the club and all of North Queensland.”
A Brothers junior and Ignatius Park College student, Morgan made his NRL debut against the Roosters in Round 9, 2010.
He has since played 129 games over eight seasons, while suiting up for the Maroons eight times and the Kangaroos 12 times, including in last year’s Rugby League World Cup grand final, won by Australia over England.
He was named last season’s Dally M Halfback of the Year and was runner-up behind Storm star Cameron Smith for the Dally M Medal, while also named the joint Cowboys Players’ Player of 2017, alongside Jason Taumalolo.