Kane Linnett is set to leave the Cowboys at the end of the season. Picture: Alix Sweeney
Kane Linnett is set to leave the Cowboys at the end of the season. Picture: Alix Sweeney

Cowboys back-line overhaul continues

COWBOYS co-captain Matt Scott is adamant the club has the young talent to overcome an exodus of back-line stalwarts after Kane Linnett confirmed this season will be his last in Townsville.

With club champion Johnathan Thurston and winger Antonio Winterstein already confirming their retirements, Linnett has been told he isn't required for 2019.

Fullback Lachlan Coote is also set to move on in 2019.

It leaves the Cowboys with four 2015 premiership backs to replace as they look to bounce back from a horror season in which they have won just five of 20 games.

Linnett has played 160 of his 183 NRL games for the Cowboys and is adamant he still has plenty to offer elsewhere.

His departure means the Cowboys will blood some youth next year. Centre Enari Tuala has shown promise when given an extended run in first grade this year, while winger Gideon Gela-Mosby can provide the speed they've sorely lacked.

There are also big raps on Queensland under-20s outside backs Kurt Wiltshire and Murray Taulagi, both of whom are yet to debut.

Enari Tuala has been impressive in his debut season. Picture: Alix Sweeney
Enari Tuala has been impressive in his debut season. Picture: Alix Sweeney Alix Sweeney

The Cowboys are also chasing Sharks fullback Valentine Holmes for next year but face a battle to snare him as he is contracted to Cronulla next season.

Dragons flyer Nene Macdonald, who has family in Cairns, has also been mooted as a possibile signing but Scott insisted they already have the talent to fill the void.

"They definitely do (have the ability). They've got some really talented outside backs at the club, guys who have been in and out of the team throughout the year," Scott said.

"A few of them will get an opportunity to cement a spot in the side and it's exciting.

" There'll be a few guys that have been in the side for a few years that won't be here next year. It's a part of footy, but it's a sad part.

"Kane's been an underrated player for us for a long time and has done some great things for the club.

"It's disappointing not to have him here next year but like JT, it would be nice to send him out with a few wins.

Kane Linnett struggled with injuries early in the season. (AAP Image/ Action Photographics, Robb Cox)
Kane Linnett struggled with injuries early in the season. (AAP Image/ Action Photographics, Robb Cox) ROBB COX

Linnett's season was hampered by a pectoral injury he picked up during the pre-season trials, which sidelined him until round 13.

The 29-year-old has been solid since his return, but the Cowboys are keen to add more pace out wide.

"It's unlikely I'll be here next year. It's been a great run and the club's been great to me," Linnett said.

"There's a few options there, but just weighing them up at the moment. I definitely know I've still got something to offer (in the NRL), but I'm not sure where yet.

"It's business, it's footy. You look at every other club and there's a lot of changes.

"The performances haven't been there for us this year. I guess the club has to look in a different direction, it's the same for me."



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