Quartet sign on with Cowboys
North Queensland have extended the contracts of four of their best young talents, including three members of the NYC squad that finished as Toyota Cup runners-up in 2011.by NRL
North Queensland have extended the contracts of four of their best young talents, including three members of the NYC squad that finished as Toyota Cup runners-up in 2011.
Sam Hoare has signed on until the end of the 2014 season, while Felise Kaufusi, Alex Elisala and Blake Leary have agreed to one-year contract extensions.
Kaufusi, 20, and Elisala, 19, remain part of the Toyota Cup squad this year and will step up to the NRL ranks for the first time in 2013.
A pectoral injury sustained during the pre-season trials has kept Kaufusi off the playing field this season, but the front-rower showed his potential by playing in all 27 games in the Cowboys' great run to the under-20s premiership decider last year.
Elisala, who started at hooker for Queensland in the inaugural under-20s State of Origin match earlier this season, has now played 60 NYC matches and has trained with the NRL squad over the past two weeks.
Both Hoare, a 20-year-old front-rower, and 21-year-old Leary, who plays in the back-row, had their 2011 seasons ended prematurely by anterior cruciate ligaments ruptures, but are considered to be future first graders by the Cowboys' coaching staff.
They have been playing in the Intrust Super Cup for the Mackay Cutters and Northern Pride respectively this year, as well as training fulltime with North Queensland's NRL squad.
Cowboys General Manager ? Football Peter Parr said signing the young forward quartet was an investment in North Queensland's future.
"We have a very high opinion of all four of them and expect that they will all challenge for NRL positions before too long," Parr said.
"Both Sam and Felise are young front-rowers who will continue to benefit from being around the likes of Matthew Scott and James Tamou, while Alex has already shown that he fits in nicely during the training sessions he has had recently with the NRL squad.
"Blake has had an extra year out of the Toyota Cup and is probably a little bit further advanced with his career even though he missed a large chunk of last year with his knee injury.
"Without that setback, he may have already made his NRL debut."
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