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It had nothing to do with the Broncos. I love that club. I grew up with a lot of those guys. The Broncs will always have a special place in my heart for all the opportunities it gave me and my family through the years.


It wasn’t just the players. It was hard leaving the staff, too. There are a lot of people who work at the Broncos who have been there since I joined as a young teenager. I’ll always consider them my friends.


The announcement was pretty late-notice. The news broke in the media while I was away in Fiji, which I was disappointed about. I’d wanted to see everyone one-on-one beforehand and explain my decision to them. But it wasn’t to be. I wasn’t happy, but there wasn’t much I could do about it.


I had a big going away dinner with the lads before I left, which was great. I also walked through the club and thanked all the staff and shook everyone’s hands. I didn’t want to make a big song-and-dance about it but, when you’ve been part of a close-knit group for so long, it’s important to say goodbye the right way.


I wish them the very best.





I’ve heard it said that if the Cowboys are doing well, Townsville is doing well.


The locals are very protective of their team. There’s a real sense of pride, care and ownership.


You get stopped in the street all the time, but it’s a bit different to other places. With some cities I’ve been to, people can be quite in-your-face when they spot a footy player. And in Brisbane, people tend to either love or hate the Broncos.


It’s a bit different in Townsville.


Here, it’s a nod, a wave, a message of good luck. There’s a genuine warmth to it. I don’t know if it’s because the locals are used to seeing the players around all the time – the population is just shy of 200,000 so there’s a fair chance you’ll bump into everyone at some point! – or if it’s because they have such a deep affection for the team but, whatever it is, you walk away from pretty much every interaction feeling like people want the best for you.


It’s very humbling.


Peter Parr, our football manager, and the rest of the Cowboys have been brilliant in helping me with the move. I came up first and found us a place, then Tanyssa and the kids joined me. Maiya started school at St Joseph’s two weeks ago and Maxon is in daycare. They shut both of those places down for a while due to the floods, but we’re slowly getting into our new routine.



The players have been great, too. It’s a very different lifestyle up here. There’s a hunting crew, a fishing crew, a coffee crew and a few other groups here and there. There are also quite a few players who have made the move up to Townsville from elsewhere – guys like Jordan McLean and Gavin Cooper and Jake Granville – and they’ve passed on little tips and advice about making the transition.


If I’m honest, though, I’d have to say that I’m getting quite antsy.


I’m at the point now where I really just want to get on the field with them. It takes time to build relationships in footy and, while pre-seasons are important, there is no substitute for standing shoulder-to-shoulder with your mates and knowing you’ve got their backs and they’ve got yours.


The season can’t start quickly enough.


When the floodwaters were close to their highest, Scott Bolton, Antonio Winterstein, Gavin Cooper and John Asiata were driving around in a tinnie picking up people whose homes were under water.


I’m excited by what we can do this season. When you look at our pack, no one player is similar. We all have a different style of football that we bring to the table. Everyone bounces ideas off each other. It’s only been a few months but I feel like I’ve already learned a lot. 


I’m just as optimistic about how our backs will go. Kyle Feldt and Nene Macdonald are big chances to play Origin this year. They’re big bodies who carry very well, which is a must for the modern winger.


Everyone knows what Michael Morgan can do in the halves. He almost won the Cowboys the grand final single-handedly in 2017. And I think we’ll see quite a bit of Te Maire Martin throughout the season. I feel like he doesn’t get enough recognition. He’s a Test player, he’s still only young and he has just served an apprenticeship under one of the greatest halves to have played the game.


You can’t replace a player like Johnathan Thurston and we’re not trying to. I’ve been lucky enough to play quite a lot of rep footy with him and he’s one of a kind. We’ve developed our own playing style this year with the players we have. We think it will be effective.


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