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Simpkins released, Bradley signed

The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys have granted Tuki Simpkins a release from the final year of his contract to take up a long-term deal with another NRL club.

A Kiwi high school rugby union standout, Simpkins came through the Cowboys New Zealand Academy before joining the NRL squad as a 17-year-old prior to the 2020 season.

The COVID-19 shutdown restricted Simpkins to just one game for the Townsville Blackhawks under 20s last year.

“We’d like to thank Tuki for his contribution to our club during his time here,” Cowboys Head of Football Micheal Luck said.

“His attitude during a difficult year in 2020 where he and a number of our younger players weren’t able to play any football was first class.

“Tuki had an opportunity to take up a long-term deal with another club and we wish him all the best.”

In a corresponding move, the Cowboys have agreed to a two-year deal with Kane Bradley, who was granted a release from the Wests Tigers.

Bradley came through the Tigers’ system as a second-rower, but has transitioned to the wing over the previous two seasons.

Standing at 196cm, Bradley adds a big frame to an outside backs group already containing Kyle Feldt, Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow, Justin O’Neill, Esan Marsters, Murray Taulagi and Connelly Lemuelu.

Bradley scored nine tries in 17 games for the Tigers’ NSW Cup side in 2019.

Luck said Bradley would begin training with the Cowboys NRL squad immediately.

“We’re really excited to secure a player of Kane’s potential,” he said.

“Kane is a big body with speed and has been a noted try scorer in the lower grades.

“He adds significant depth to a position we believed we were a little undermanned and all reports we received about his work ethic, attitude and character were glowing.”