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Cowboys 2020 squad analysis - Middles

Cowboys.com.au will provide an in-depth positional analysis of the 2020 North Queensland Toyota Cowboys squad. We continue the series with middle forwards, headlined by superstar Jason Taumalolo.

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

>>>> Part 1: Fullback <<<<

>>>> Part 2: Outside backs <<<<

>>>> Part 3: Halves <<<<

>>>> Part 4: Hooker <<<<

>>>> Part 5: Second rowers <<<<

Josh McGuire (211)

The Queensland incumbent enjoyed a solid first season in North Queensland. With Jason Taumalolo entrenched at lock, McGuire is again expected to line up in the front row for the Cowboys in 2020.

Jason Taumalolo (180)

The Tongan wrecking ball claimed a record-breaking fourth consecutive Paul Bowman medal in 2019 after another stellar season. The 26-year-old remains unquestioned as the best middle forward in rugby league and is primed for another brilliant campaign in 2020.

Jordan McLean (118)

The Cowboys vice-captain enjoyed a terrific 2019 season. The 28-year-old was named Cowboys Players’ Player of the Year and will again combine with McGuire and Taumalolo to form one of the competition’s most feared middle third trios.

John Asiata (117)

Injuries forced Asiata to spend more than half of 2019 in the halves, but he is expected to return to the middle rotation next season. Asiata’s ball-playing ability has proven an invaluable asset for the Cowboys across his six seasons at the club.

Corey Jensen (41)

Jensen was one of the standout props in the Queensland Cup last season and was impressive in his limited opportunities in the top grade. After another solid pre-season, Jensen will push for more regular NRL game-time in 2020.

Francis Molo (37)

One of the surprise packets of the 2019 season, Molo was one of just four Cowboys to play all 24 games. His energy off the interchange proved a real asset for the Cowboys and he is primed to shoulder a bigger load in 2020.

Peter Hola (5)

Promoted to the Cowboys top 30 late in the pre-season, Hola tore up the Queensland Cup for the Northern Pride to start 2019 and ended the season as a regular in Green’s side. The 20-year-old’s bruising carries and deft offloads make him a prime candidate for a breakout season in 2020.

Tom Gilbert (0)

Despite not turning 19 until late in the season, Tom Gilbert was one of the Queensland Cup’s most destructive forwards in 2019. He was named the competition’s Rookie and Lock of the Year after a stellar campaign for the Townsville Blackhawks.

Wiremu Greig (0)

A towering prop, Greig starred for the Townsville Blackhawks under 20s in 2019, before earning a Queensland Cup debut late in the season. Greig will aim to lock down a starting role in the Queensland Cup in 2020.

Emry Pere (0)

Pere played every game for the Mackay Cutters in the Queensland Cup in 2019. A former Junior Kiwis front-rower, Pere will look to secure an NRL debut in 2020.

Garrett Smith (0)

The Mackay product has been a Queensland rep throughout his junior career and should be a regular for the Cutters Queensland Cup side in 2020.