In a surprising turn of events, Cowboys coach Todd Payten has dismissed any interest in signing off-contract halfback Luke Brooks. Despite Brooks declining a contract extension offer from the Wests Tigers, Payten expressed his commitment to current Cowboys No.7 Chad Townsend for the 2024 season.
Payten, who previously coached Brooks at the Wests Tigers, acknowledged his admiration for the player but made it clear that he will not be joining the Cowboys. Instead, Payten praised Brooks for his resilience and stated that his best football is still ahead of him, wherever he may end up.
On the other hand, Payten revealed that he approached Townsend weeks ago to gauge his contentment at the club. Townsend assured him that he is settled and has no intentions of leaving. Payten fully supports Townsend and confirmed that the halfback will remain at the Cowboys under his coaching tenure.
This news comes as the Cowboys face a likely roster overhaul, with 13 of their top 30 players currently without contracts beyond this season.
However, the club received a boost with the decision to keep assistant coach Dean Young on Payten’s staff. Young missed out on the head coaching role at the Dragons, but Payten believes he is a future head coach and plans to offer him a contract extension.
Looking ahead, the Cowboys are preparing for their clash against the Panthers on Friday night. Coming off a bye week, North Queensland is seeking to build on their impressive 45-20 victory over the Storm. Both teams will be heavily impacted by the State of Origin duty, each missing five players. However, Payten acknowledged that the Panthers are better equipped to handle the representative selection period compared to most teams.