2019 Paul Bowman Medal contenders

A three-time winner, superstar recruit, new club captain and vice-captain, high-flying winger and super-utility will vie for the Paul Bowman Medal at the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys’ Annual Presentation Night at the Townsville Entertainment and Convention Centre on Wednesday.

Three-time reigning Paul Bowman Medalist Jason Taumalolo will undoubtedly feature heavily in the voting once again. Injuries limited Taumalolo to 18 games, but when on the field he was at his destructive best. The Tongan wrecking ball averaged an enormous 197 running metres a game, which was the most of any forward in the NRL.

Marquee off-season signing Josh McGuire made an instant impact in his first season at the club. After Taumalolo went down with a knee injury, McGuire stepped into the No.13 jersey and produced a string of dominant performances. The Queensland lock averaged 139 running metres and 32 tackles during his first season in North Queensland.

Coming off an injury-riddled 2018 season, Michael Morgan began 2019 with a spring in his step after being named club captain by Paul Green late in the pre-season. The 27-year-old finished sixth in the NRL with 16 try assists in 20 games and was one of only three players to boot three or more 40-20s.

As Morgan’s new deputy, Jordan McLean had a point of his own to prove after an injury-disrupted maiden season in North Queensland. The 28-year-old responded by playing 22 of a possible 24 games and ran for more metres than any Cowboy not named Jason Taumalolo.

Despite missing the first two months of the season, Kyle Feldt still finished as the Cowboys’ highest try-scorer for the fourth consecutive season. The Cowboys winger crossed 11 times in his 16 games, including a memorable double in the Round 23 victory over Penrith.

John Asiata was one of just four players to appear on all 24 games for the Cowboys in 2019. While his presence on the field was consistent, the number on his back was not. Asiata spent the season switching between lock, five-eighth and the interchange. With Morgan, Te Maire Martin and Jake Clifford all missing time through injury, Asiata’s ability to play in the halves was a godsend for Green and the 26-year-old was involved in numerous highlight plays throughout the season.