Cowboys.com.au are providing an in-depth positional analysis of the 2021 North Queensland Toyota Cowboys squad. We continue the series with the halves led by Cowboys skipper Michael Morgan.
The players are ranked by their NRL experience with their career numbers of games in brackets next to their name.
>>> 2021 squad list
Michael Morgan (166)
Injuries again played havoc with Morgan’s season in 2020. The Cowboys skipper was limited to just six games through shoulder and calf injuries. Morgan returned early to pre-season and has hit the ground running as he prepares for a 2021 season under new head coach Todd Payten.
Ben Hampton (104)
Hampton has played almost every position since arriving in North Queensland in 2017, but in 2020 he finally got an extended run in his preferred halves position. The Mareeba product turned in some impressive outings during his stint at five-eighth and could be an option for Payten in 2021.
Jake Clifford (35)
After missing out on a Round 1 spot, Clifford played 14 of a possible 20 games in 2020. The Tully product scored three tries and registered a further five try assists. Clifford will again be firmly in the mix for a Round 1 halves spot in 2021.
Scott Drinkwater (27)
He spent his first season in North Queensland at fullback, but Drinkwater thrived upon shifting to the halves in 2020. He finished fifth in the NRL with 19 try assists in 16 games and added a further two tries himself. Drinkwater remains a fullback option for the Cowboys, but has indicated five-eighth is his preferred position.
Daejarn Asi (5)
Asi’s stunning debut against the Panthers in Round 10 was one of the highlights of the season for North Queensland. The 20-year-old scored a brilliant individual try against eventual grand finalists Penrith as he almost guided the Cowboys to an upset. Asi will split time in the pre-season between the halves and centre.