Published by John Dean, 14 September 2018 on Foxsports.com.au
NORTH Queensland have confirmed seven players will depart the club at the end of the season, including premiership-winning duo Lachlan Coote and Kane Linnett.
The Cowboys held their annual awards night on Thursday, with Jason Taumalolo claiming the top gong as player of the year.
But it was also a bittersweet occasion with a number of squad members bidding farewell.
Aside from seeing off retiring stars Johnathan Thurston and Antonio Winterstein, the club also said goodbye to Coote, Linnett, Shaun Fensom, Sam Hoare, Josh Chudleigh, Kyle Laybutt and Shaun Hudson.
It comes after a disappointing season for the Cowboys who narrowly avoided the wooden spoon, finishing two wins off the bottom of the ladder in 13th.
The club was criticised at times for their ageing roster, the bulk of which they’ve been able to retain for a number of seasons after their grand final win in 2015.
While the Cowboys are yet to make any significant additions for next season, they’re in negotiations to sign Ben Barba from St Helens on a one-year deal.
Barba has been one of the Super League’s most electric players this season and it’s been reported Coote will be his replacement at Saints after verbally agreeing to a three-year deal.
Given Coote was off contract, the Cowboys will still need to pay a transfer fee for Barba.
It was a roller coaster season for Coote who struggled with injury early on in the year before being dropped to the Intrust Super Cup.
Linnett also had a turbulent year, missing the first half of the season through injury.
The 29-year-old is likely to join Coote in the Super League next season, and has been linked to Castleford.
Meanwhile, Parramatta hooker Cameron King has announced he’s leaving the Eels after two seasons.
King played 22 games in the blue and gold after stints at St George Illawarra and North Queensland.
“It’s been an honour and a privilege to play for this proud, historic club. BA (Eels coach Brad Arthur) gave me a chance when my career was at stand still and for that I’ll be forever grateful,” King wrote.
“I’ve made some great mates during my time here and to all the players I say thank you also.
“To the members and fans who stick with this club through good times and bad thank you for all your support.
“Wasn’t how I saw my time finishing here but unfortunately that’s the way it goes sometimes which hurts.
“Not too sure what the next chapter looks like which is scary/exciting but I’m thankful to have been involved with the Parramatta Eels.”