PART 1: 2019 squad analysis - Outside backs
PART 2: 2019 squad analysis - Halves
PART 3: 2019 squad analysis - Middle forwards
PART 4: 2019 squad analysis - Edge forwards
PART 5: 2019 squad analysis - Hooker
Each week Cowboys.com.au will provide an in-depth positional analysis of the 2019 North Queensland Toyota Cowboys squad. We begin the series this week with the fullback position headlined by star recruit Ben Barba.
The players are ranked by their NRL experience with their career numbers of games in brackets next to their name.
Ben Barba (168)
The Cowboys marquee recruit joins the club on the back of a stellar season in the UK Super League for St Helens, which saw him named the competition's Man of Steel after scoring 34 tries in as many games. Barba became just the second player, along with Cronulla legend Gavin Miller, to claim both the Man of Steel and Dally M Medal, an award he won in 2012 with the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs. Barba is widely regarded as one of the most exciting attacking players of his generation, scoring 99 tries in 168 NRL games after debuting as a 19-year-old in 2008.
Ben Hampton (84)
One the most versatile players in the NRL, Hampton was impressive in his seven games in the No.1 jersey in 2018. He began the season at fullback filling in for Lachlan Coote before moving to the centres in Round 6, but it was his second stint at the back which would have left the biggest impression on head coach Paul Green. Playing the final two games of the season at fullback, Hampton scored doubles in both games. Just as capable in the centres, halves or at hooker, Hampton defines the term 'super utility'.
Te Maire Martin (48)
Martin had never played a game at fullback at any level of rugby league before being thrust into the role against St George Illawarra in Round 19 of the 2018 season. He responded with an almost unbelievable three consecutive Cowboys man of the match awards. Martin is undoubtedly still considered primarily as a half, but proved in 2018 he can cover the fullback position as well.
Carlin Anderson (0)
The 23-year-old speedster is yet to play an NRL game, but has long been earmarked as a player of promise. A Queensland Cup premiership winner with Ipswich, Anderson heads into the final season of a two-year deal with the Cowboys in 2019.
Michael Morgan *
Morgan will almost certainly start the season as the Cowboys' first choice half, but has played 29 games at fullback during his career, including three in 2018. It would be unlikely to see Morgan in the No.1 jersey in 2019, but he has proved just as comfortable at fullback as he is in the halves during his career.