Off-contract North Queensland star Lachlan Coote is resigned to being squeezed out of the club by the salary cap, but won’t be dirty on them for doing so.
Coote was the hero in the Cowboys’ first road win of 2016, potting the go-ahead field goal and coming up with two trysaving tackles in Saturday’s 23-18 win over former team Penrith.
He also copped a possible rib injury for his troubles, earning plenty of plaudits from his coach.
“He’s got a rib thing from that trysaver he had over in the far corner,” coach Paul Green said.
“He had a couple of really big plays for us tonight. Defensively, in particular, there was another one in the first half down in this corner. Cootey’s been consistently one of our better players so far this year.”
But his surge in form might now have priced him out of Townsville.
The 26-year-old revealed he could be the first player from last year’s premiership-winning line-up to be forced out after receiving offers from other clubs.
“I’m fortunate enough to be in a good position to be playing football and have some other offers from other clubs,” Coote said.
“They know where I stand. They know I want to be here. It’s hard when it comes down to business.
“I’m happy to be a part of this club at the moment. (But) whatever happens next year, there’s no hard feelings.”
Green reiterated his desire to keep Coote, but only at the right price.
“His manager came to us with a figure which was a little bit out of the ballpark at the time. So we’ve said to him, `Make sure you give us last crack’,” he said.
“He’s not a player I want to lose or get rid of by any stretch, but the fact of the matter is we’ve got a salary cap and we’ve got to work to that. At some point, you can’t fit everyone in.”