Cowboys legend and new Townsville Blackhawks coach Aaron Payne already has a talent-laden squad at his disposal, but his excitement level would have grown upon seeing the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys feeder club allocation list.
Townsville products Michael Morgan and Kyle Feldt have been allocated to the Blakchawks as has superstar Jason Taumalolo, although that trio would be unlikely starters in the Queensland Cup.
Corey Jensen and Francis Molo are both in contention for a bench spot in the Cowboys Round 1 side, but if either miss out they will bolster an already formidable Blackhawks pack.
New recruit Tom Opacic could also emerge as a key player for Payne’s squad if he misses the Cowboys Round 1 side.
Opacic was a crucial member of Redcliffe’s premiership-winning outfit last season and has been impressive in the Cowboys opening two trials.
Junior Kangaroos star Murray Taulagi will also play for the Blackhawks in 2019. A hulking 19-year-old outside back, Taulagi will miss the opening rounds of the season after picking up a knee injury in the Cowboys trial win over the Titans a fortnight ago.
Fellow teenager Tom Gilbert is slated to make his Queensland Cup debut after a sensational season in both the under 18s and 20s competitions in 2018.
Gilbert started at lock in the Blackhawks trial win over Mackay last weekend.
Te Marie Martin