The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys will welcome three graduates of the club’s Young Guns program to the NRL squad in the 2022 season.
Morgan McWhirter, Jordan Lipp and Tyreece Woods join Riley Price as the four members of the Cowboys NRL squad on Development contracts. Players on Development contracts sit outside the club’s Top 30, but are eligible to play NRL after Round 10.
A no-nonsense middle forward from Terrigal on the NSW Central Coast, McWhirter made his Queensland Cup debut for the Mackay Cutters in 2021.
The 20-year-old relocated to North Queensland prior to the 2020 season and was set to play for the Townsville Blackhawks before the COVID 19 pandemic hit. McWhirter moved to the Cutters for the 2021 season and has made nine Queensland Cup appearances, including a gutsy 59-minute effort at lock against the Blackhawks in Round 7.
Originally from Wandoan in Southern Queensland, Lipp moved to Toowoomba during high school to attend St Mary’s College, the alma mater of the greatest Cowboy of them all – Johnathan Thurston.
A half or fullback coming through the junior grades, Lipp transitioned to centre upon moving to North Queensland in 2021 and has been a revelation for the Blackhawks under 21s. The 20-year-old leads the Hastings Deering Colts competition with 16 tries in 13 games.
Born in Rockhampton, Woods moved to North Queensland to attend rugby league powerhouse Kirwan State High and was part of the school’s National Championships winning side in 2019.
A torn ACL at the back end of the 2020 season forced the speedy centre/fullback to miss the entire 2021 season, but Woods is expected to be fit for the start of pre-season in November.
Eighteen-year-old Nanai came through the club’s Cairns Academy before spending 2021 on a training contract with the NRL side.
Nanai made his debut against the Wests Tigers in Round 22 and remained in Todd Payten’s side for the final four rounds.
Moceidreke was one of the stories of the 2021 season. Signed from the Bulldogs mid-season, the 21-year-old was originally slated to train with the Cowboys for the remainder of the season before joining the top squad in 2022. An injury crisis to the club’s outside backs saw Moceidreke called up for the unlikeliest of NRL debuts against the Eels in Round 23.