Former North Queensland Toyota Cowboys under 20s assistant coach Ben Jeffries will rejoin the club in 2019 after being appointed Elite Pathways Coach.
Jeffries replaces Cowboys legend Aaron Payne who has departed the club to take over as head coach of Queensland Cup outfit and Cowboys feeder club the Townsville Blackhawks.
Jeffries appeared in 28 NRL games across two seasons for the Wests Tigers and St George Illawarra Dragons, but it was in England he really made his mark as a player.
The now 38-year-old played 256 UK Super League games for Wakefield Trinity and Bradford between 2003 and 2012 before retiring to return to Australia.
For the past four years Jeffries has held an NRL Development role and a number of assistant coaching roles including with the Cowboys Holden Cup side in 2017 and the Blackhawks Queensland Cup outfit in 2018.
Jeffries role with the Cowboys sees him act as the head coach for the Cowboys Academy programs across Queensland and New Zealand, which focuses on high-school aged players.
"I'm very excited to be employed by the Cowboys, it's something I've been striving for the last few years," he said.
"I've had some really good platforms to springboard off into this role. Hopefully I can nurture some of these young men in our six academies through to the NRL system.
"These guys all have ambitions to be NRL players and our academy system is one of our first steps for them to try and get there. They all have a lot of hard work in front of them, but I can relate to that because I've been through it and experienced it. Hopefully I can pass that knowledge on to them during what is a really important time in their development."
Jeffries will also have the opportunity to work closely with Cowboys head coach Paul Green and assistants David Fairleigh, Josh Hannay and David Tangata-Toa.
"I hold Greeny and all his assistants in high regard and I'm really looking forward to learning off them and taking what I learn back to the academy kids which will help them progress as players," he said.