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Cowboys 2021 Rookie of the Year contenders

In a season the club handed NRL debuts to five players, the 2021 North Queensland Toyota Cowboys rookie class contains some of the brightest talents to come through the club’s pathways programs in a number of seasons.

Heilum Luki (Round 11), Kane Bradley (Round 19), Jeremiah Nanai and Griffin Neame (both Round 22) as well as Latia Moceidreke (Round 23) all registered top grade debuts in 2021 and are contenders for the club’s Rookie of the Year award at Thursday’s End of Season Awards Night.

>>> Cowboys Rookie of the Year winners: 2008 - 2020

Astonishingly, four of the five crossed for tries on debut, while Neame provided the final pass for Nanai’s inaugural four-pointer in the top grade.

By season’s end Luki, Nanai and Neame were all part of Todd Payten’s first-choice 17, while Bradley missed the final rounds with a broken hand.

Moceidreke’s debut was one of the feel-good stories of the NRL season. The 21-year-old had never played a game of senior football before being handed his NRL debut by Payten in Round 23. The towering winger joined the Cowboys from the Bulldogs mid-season, but was not supposed to join the top squad until 2022 until an outside back shortage resulted in the most unlikely of NRL call-ups.

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.