As Penrith circles James Tamou, North Queensland coach Paul Green has revealed he is resigned to losing a member of his NRL premiership team – he just doesn’t know who yet.
The Cowboys denied a News Corp report claiming Kangaroos prop Tamou had already informed the club he would relocate to the Panthers next season.
“I haven’t heard anything other than a bit of scuttlebutt,” Cowboys football manager Peter Parr told the Fox Sports website on Tuesday night.
However, Tamou appears the most likely Cowboy to leave after telling AAP his growing family will be the top priority when he makes a decision on where he plays next year.
His partner is expecting to give birth to their second child and her family are in Sydney.
That gives the inside running to Penrith, who last week offered a lucrative four-year deal.
Recently re-signed Lachlan Coote had urged his off contract teammates that also include Ethan Lowe and Justin O’Neill to take pay cuts so that they could all stay and build a Cowboys dynasty.
Coote sacrificed $1.8 million to ignore a cashed up Sydney Roosters offer and remain with North Queensland.
But Green said it was only a matter of time before someone would announce they were leaving.
“We would like to keep everyone and we are trying our best to do that,” Green said.
“But the reality is that we probably won’t be able to keep everyone.
“Whether that is Jimmy or someone else I am not sure.”
Green said despite the speculation swirling around his star players’ future he was happy that their title defence had remained on track.
Ladder leaders the Cowboys will look to notch another confidence boosting win against Melbourne at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night as part of the NRL doubleheader.
“Our players have done a good job in not letting that (speculation) distract them,” Green said.
“They haven’t let any of that affect how we play as a team which is what I want to see.
“That shows they value the team.”