Part 1 - 2019 squad analysis - Fullback
Part 2 - 2019 squad analysis - Outside backs
Part 3 - 2019 squad analysis - Halves
Part 4 - 2019 squad analysis - Edge forwards
Part 5 - 2019 squad analysis - Middle forwards
Each week Cowboys.com.au will provide an in-depth positional analysis of the 2019 North Queensland Toyota Cowboys squad.
The series continues this week with the hooker position with long-time dummy-half Jake Granville joined by new recruit Kurt Baptiste in 2019.
The players are ranked by their NRL experience with their career number of games in brackets next to their name.
Granville has been a model of consistency for the Cowboys since joining the club in 2015. The 29-year-old has played in at least 24 games in all four of his seasons in North Queensland colours, including all 28 in the historic premiership-winning 2015 campaign. Granville was forced to play huge minutes in 2018 after the only other recognised dummy half on the roster Josh Chudleigh tore an ACL early in the season.
Hooker is far from Hampton's most recognised position, but the Cowboys' super utility played plenty of dummy-half in 2018. The 26-year-old has only started one game at hooker during his career and would be a long shot to wear the No.9 in 2019, but has proved a more than useful back-up dummy half during his two seasons in North Queensland.
An NRL journeyman, Baptiste joins the Cowboys after a 2018 season as Jake Friend's back-up at the Roosters. The 27-year-old has also played for the Broncos and Raiders over the course of his career along with representing PNG six times. Baptiste will be a front-runner for the bench utility spot in Round 1.
Talented youngster Cotter has missed almost all of the last three seasons with serious knee injuries. The Mackay-bred 19-year-old can cover either hooker or lock and is expected to be fully fit for the Cowboys' first trial against the Titans on the Sunshine Coast in February. In his first year as part of the Cowboys senior squad, Cotter will look to make his mark on the Queensland Cup during his comeback season.