North Queensland’s NRL premiership window will remain wide open for several years with title-winning fullback Lachlan Coote re-signing until the end of 2018.
Coote was a major plank of the Cowboys’ breakthrough 2015 grand final win and the Townsville club scored a major coup on Wednesday when he inked a two-year extension worth a reported $1 million.
The 26-year-old shunned interest from southern clubs, and a bigger pay day, to remain in the far north.
The Cowboys will turn their attention to re-signing NSW and Australian prop James Tamou and hard-working back-rower Ethan Lowe.
With the side’s spine of Coote, Johnathan Thurston (2017), Michael Morgan (2018) and Jake Granville (2018) committed for the next few seasons, the club’s prospects of staying at the top look strong.
“I’m extremely pleased to remain a Cowboy,” Coote said.
“I’ve had a memorable time here so far, we won the premiership last year and I just love playing with these boys.
“Greeny (coach Paul Green) and the coaching staff have played a big role in helping me improve my game, and they were all tremendous after a tough first year at the club.”
Coote has endured a wretched run of injury over the past four years, sitting out most of 2013 with Penrith with a pectoral injury before not even taking the field in his first year in Townsville in 2014 because of a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament suffered at the Auckland Nines.
After spending six years at Penrith, Coote moved north in 2014 to find career-best form which has led to his name being mentioned in NSW State of Origin dispatches.
“He’s been really good for us, both last season and to start 2016,” Green said.
“His positional play at fullback is second to none and he gives us a genuine attacking option alongside our halves. I know his teammates love playing beside him and he’s a pleasure to coach.”