2023 NRL Season Preview
NRL22 Feb 2023

2023 North Queensland Cowboys NRL Season Preview

The Cowboys sure surprised a lot of people last season. They were off to a rocky start in 2022, losing to the Bulldogs in week 1, but put in many consistent performances, which included a six-game winning streak, and ended up finishing in third place on the ladder. They went on to beat the Sharks in Finals week 1, and made it to the Preliminary Final, where they narrowly lost to the Eels, 24-20.

Recruitment Report

Compared to a few other teams in the league, the Cowboys had a fairly quite off-season recruitment period. Their biggest gain throughout the off-season has got to be James Tamou, who returns to the Cowboys after four seasons at the Panthers and more recently two seasons at the Tigers. Tamou played for the Cowboys from 2009 until 2016, and Cowboys fans will be happy to see him back up north.

The Cowboys have only lost a handful of players between the 2022 and 2023 seasons. The most notable player who has left the squad is Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow. After three seasons with the Cowboys, The Hammer is making the move to the Dolphins. He played 23 games for the Cowboys last season and scored seven tries.

Ins: Tom Chester, Tom Duffy, Jack Gosiewski, Jordan Lipp, Riley Price, Gehamat Shibasaki and James Tamou

Outs: Daejarn Asi, Ben Condon, Tom Gilbert, Connelly Lemuelu and Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow

Key Player: Chad Townsend

The Cowboys performed very well last season, finishing in third position, and last season was Chad Townsend’s first season with the club. It’s not only his experience, but also his leadership which makes him the key player in this Cowboy’s squad. Townsend is like the glue that holds the whole team together, and the Cowboys will go as far as he takes them.

Rising Star: Griffin Neame

There are a number of excellent up-and-coming youngsters in and around the Cowboys squad that could be given the rising star tag. But Griffin Neame seems like a great choice and someone who you need to keep your eye on. He didn’t have many opportunities last season, but when he did, he grabbed them with both hands. Neame will be ready to go if there are any injuries within the forwards.

5 Key Matches To Watch

Match 1: Round 2, vs Broncos, at Suncorp Stadium (Fri, Mar 10, 8:05pm)

Match 2: Round 13, vs Eels, at CommBank Stadium (Fri, May 26, 8pm)

Match 3: Round 14, vs Storm, at Queensland Country Bank Stadium (Sun, Jun 4, 4:05pm)

Match 4: Round 16, vs Panthers, at Queensland Country Bank Stadium (Fri, Jun 16, 8pm)

Match 5: Round 23, vs Broncos, at Queensland Country Bank Stadium (Sat, Aug 5, 3pm)

2023 NRL Season Expectations

A lot of people will be asking whether the Cowboys can match their performance from last season, and honestly, not a lot has changed with the squad, so there is no reason to suggest this season will be any different. While they will miss the services of Tabuai-Fidow, their starting line-up is strong, and they have enough depth to tackle any issue thrown at them. They would have gained valuable experience from their deep Finals run last season, and they will likely finish top four once again.