Cowboys’ $5m answer to JT conundrum
NORTH Queensland playmaker Michael Morgan is set to be a Cowboy for life after inking a five-year NRL contract extension worth a reported $5 million.
With Johnathan Thurston set to hang up his boots at the end of 2018, the Cowboys have shored up their future by signing the Queensland and Australian half until the end of 2023.
The Townsville junior will be 31 when he next comes off contract meaning he is set to play out his career with the club he came to as a teenager.
He last year stepped out of Thurston's shadow to cement his status as one of the best halves in the competition, leading the Cowboys to an unlikely grand final appearance and starting at five-eighth for Australia during the World Cup.
Thurston's season-ending shoulder injury during State of Origin was supposed to be a death knell for the Cowboys' 2017 campaign.
However, Morgan displayed characteristics few knew he possessed to take his side to season decider.
"I'm stoked to be staying at the Cowboys, a club I grew up supporting and, later in life, proudly playing for," Morgan said.
"Townsville is my home, I've been involved with the Cowboys since I was 17. I made my NRL debut as a Cowboy and all the positives in my career have come from me proudly wearing this great team's colours."
The Cowboys were in danger of losing Morgan to a poaching raid from cashed up Sydney clubs but they will now build their future around him. After debuting for the Cowboys in 2010, he has made 129 first-grade appearances as well as playing eight State of Origins for Queensland and earning 12 Test caps.
"Michael was a Townsville junior, was identified at an early age, and came up through our elite pathways system, from which point he earned an NRL contract with the club," Cowboys football manager Peter Parr said.
"It's no secret the sort of career that Michael has had since then. Since making his NRL debut as a teenager in 2010, he has helped the club to its maiden premiership and two grand final appearances in three seasons.
"He's also made his Queensland and Australian debuts while playing for the Cowboys, something he and the club can be extremely proud of."