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Cowboys to farewell five departing players

The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys will farewell five players at tonight’s End of Year Presentation Night at the Townsville Entertainment and Convention Centre.

Life member Gavin Cooper headlines the group, which also includes premiership-winner John Asiata, outside backs Tom Opacic and Dan Russell as well as prop Garrett Smith.

Cooper finishes his glittering Cowboys career appearing in the fourth most games in club history, with his 248 appearances trailing only Johnathan Thurston, Matt Bowen and Matt Scott.

His 72 tries are the most by any Cowboys forward and the eighth-most in club history.

Cooper was an integral member of North Queensland’s maiden premiership-winning side in 2015 and also captained the club in the 2017 grand final and to an NRL Nines Title in 2014.

Asiata joined the Cowboys in 2014 and would go on to appear in 129 games over seven seasons.

The 27-year-old started from the interchange in the 2015 grand final victory and in the 2017 decider against Melbourne.

Asiata’s versatility was a huge weapon for the Cowboys during his time in North Queensland. The Tongan international started games at lock, prop, second row, halfback and five-eighth as a Cowboy.

Opacic appeared in 24 games over the course of his two seasons in North Queensland. The 26-year-old centre scored nine tries including a memorable double against St George Illawarra in Round 15 last season.

Russell joined the Cowboys in 2019 and after a solid season with Mackay in the Queensland Cup unfortunately tore a pec early in the 2020 season.

Mackay product Smith came through the Cowboys Pathways Programs before being promoted to the NRL squad on a development contract in 2020.

Acknowledgement of Country

North Queensland Cowboys respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.