Cowboys promote five young guns to NRL squad for 2020

Five products of the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys Elite Pathways Program have been elevated to the club’s NRL system for the 2020 season.

Tukimihia Simpkins, Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow, Ben Condon, Wiremu Greig and Garrett Smith will all join the Cowboys NRL squad for the start of pre-season in November.

Tukimihia Simpkins
Tukimihia Simpkins

Simpkins will immediately join the Cowboys’ Top 30, while the remaining four have been signed on development contracts.

Simpkins was signed by the Cowboys after being spotted at the 2016 New Zealand under 15s Rugby League National Championships.

A 6’4, 17-year-old back-rower, Simpkins was one of the top schoolboy rugby union prospects in New Zealand and attracted the interest of a number of Super Rugby franchises before ultimately opting to sign for the Cowboys.

Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow
Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow

Tabuai-Fidow first came to the club’s attention after starring playing rugby union for Brisbane Grammar School in June 2017.

After signing with the Cowboys, Tabuai-Fidow returned home to Cairns and played under 18s for the Northern Pride in 2018. He relocated to Townsville in 2019 to attend Kirwan State High School.

The 18-year-old will play for the Australian Schoolboys side against the Under 19 Junior Kiwis in Brisbane on Sunday.

A speedy fullback, who also has the ability to play wing and centre, Tabuai-Fidow scored 13 tries in just six Mal Meninga Cup games for the Townsville Blackhawks this season.

Ben Condon
Ben Condon

Condon was part of the Cowboys’ Rockhampton Academy for two seasons before moving to Townsville at the end of 2017 and the 19-year-old has spent the past two years playing under 20s for the Blackhawks.

A towering forward, who has the ability to play both in the middle and on an edge, Condon averaged four tackle-breaks, two offloads, 96 running metres and 19 tackles across 21 Hastings Deering Colts games in 2019.

Wiremu Greig
Wiremu Greig

Greig was signed as a 17-year-old after starring for Northlands in the 2017 New Zealand Rugby League National Championships.

He moved to North Queensland a year later and spent 2018 in the under 20s with the Northern Pride and 2019 with the Blackhawks.

A hard-running middle forward, Greig made his Queensland Cup debut in Round 6 and made five more appearances over the course of the season.

Garrett Smith
Garrett Smith

Smith has been in the Cowboys system since he was 15 and has remained at home in Mackay to play for the Cutters in the Hastings Deering Colts the past two seasons.

The 19-year-old is still eligible for the under 20s in 2020, but has already had a taste of Queensland Cup after earning a debut in Round 15.

A workhorse middle forward, Smith was a member of the Queensland Under 18s side in 2018 and was 18th man for the Queensland under 20s this season.

“We’re really excited about this group,” Cowboys Recruitment Manager Clint Zammit said.

“They are spread across key positions and we believe all five have the ability to play first grade in the future.

“To have five players of this calibre come into our NRL squad at once is a fantastic endorsement for our Elite Pathways Program.”