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2019 squad analysis - Outside backs

PART 1: 2019 squad analysis - Fullback
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 will provide an in-depth positional analysis of the 2019 North Queensland Toyota Cowboys squad.

The series continues this week with the outside backs and star recruit Nene Macdonald, who joins an already talented group containing long-time Cowboys Kyle Feldt and Justin O'Neill as well as a number of talented youngsters.

The players are ranked by their NRL experience with their career number of games in brackets next to their name.

Outside backs

Justin O'Neill (159)

The premiership-winning centre endured a tough 2018 season, which included a stint in the Queensland Cup, but he finished the year strongly after returning to the top grade. O'Neill has proved just as capable at right and left centre and played some of his best football on the wing last season.

Kyle Feldt (98)

Feldt has emerged as one of the NRL's premier wingers over the last two seasons. The 26-year-old led the Cowboys with 14 tries in 2018, including a memorable hat-trick in Round 24 against Parramatta. Feldt has been a lock on the right wing for North Queensland for the last four seasons and that is expected to continue in 2019.

Nene Macdonald (91)

One of the Cowboys marquee recruits, Macdonald adds significant strike power to Paul Green's backline in 2019. Macdonald has played 76 of his 91 NRL games on the wing, but does also have experience in the centres. At almost 110kg, Macdonald will also be a huge asset bringing the ball out of the Cowboys' half.

2019 squad analysis - Halves

Ben Hampton (84)

The Cowboys super utility started seven games at centre for the Cowboys in 2018 and proved a dangerous attacking weapon. Hampton will again be in the mix to play a number of positions for the Cowboys in 2019, including centre.

Javid Bowen (29)

Bowen was signed to a one-year extension in October and will be desperate to impress the Cowboys hierarchy early in 2019. A naturally gifted outside back, Bowen could force his way into a Round 1 centre spot with a strong pre-season.

2019 squad analysis - Fullback

Tom Opacic (19)

Another new recruit, Opacic joins the Cowboys on a two-year deal. A hard-working centre, Opacic had groin surgery after winning the Queensland Cup with Redcliffe and has been limited on the training paddock in the first month of pre-season. The 24-year-old is another player in the mix for the centre spot vacated by Kane Linnett.

Enari Tuala (11)

The young gun added 10 NRL games to his resume in 2018 and earned a spot on the wing for the Junior Kangaroos in October. Despite debuting in 2017, Tuala has only recently turned 20 and is one of the most highly regarded up and coming outside backs in rugby league.

Gideon Gela-Mosby (8)

A try scoring phenom, Gela-Mosby earned an NRL call up late in the season after tearing up the Queensland Cup with Cowboys feeder club the Northern Pride. The 20-year-old winger has scored six tries in his eight NRL games, including three in four games last season.

Dan Russell (0)

Russell joins the Cowboys on the back of a three-season stint with the Souths Logan Magpies in the Queensland Cup. The 23-year-old is a rangy centre and has impressed Cowboys coaches in the early stages of pre-season.

Murray Taulagi (0)

Despite only taking up rugby league in 2016, Taulagi has already represented the Junior Kangaroos and Queensland under 20s. Taulagi won't turn 20 until March, but spent the entire 2018 season in the Queensland Cup with the Northern Pride and has been elevated to the Cowboys top squad for 2019.

Kurt Wiltshire (0)

The Longreach-born young gun enjoyed a stellar 2018 season. Despite still being eligible for the under 20s, Wiltshire spent the majority of the season in the Queensland Cup with the Mackay Cutters and was part of the drought-breaking Queensland under 20s side.

Acknowledgement of Country

North Queensland Cowboys respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.