Record: 15 wins, 9 losses, 0 draws

Ladder Position: 4th (week 3 finals)

Player of the Year: Jason Taumalolo

SEASON SUMMARY

One victory short of a Grand Final for the defending Premiers. The hardest task is to defend your Premiership and yet the Cowboys came within a whisker of achieving this.

Running out of steam from a tough finals campaign and a long season, and falling short after losses to both eventual Grand Finalists show the tremendous effort put in by the side.

TALKING POINTS

Cowboys successful World Club Challenge campaign

Victory in the World Club Challenge as the Cowboys began the year as they finished off the previous year. A dominant seven try to one victory against the Leeds Rhinos with the same starting line-up that had taken the prize, began a theme of consistency with the team list that went well into the season. This solid group was critical for a number of victories, making them hard to stop as the season rolled on.

Key Injuries halt Cowboys charge to title

Key injuries (and a suspension) at inconvenient times derailed the season. When you have to travel as far as the Cowboys, they are better suited to finishing in the top two. A number of close games that fell to the wrong side of the ledger ended up costing them any shot of a high table finish and whilst fourth, they would feel that a number of close losses impacted on their ability to finish the season correctly.

Cowboys 2015 premiership side dismantled

This season sees the end of the side that took the premiership. With JT3 and Rory heading south to their well-paid but inevitable doom we will see how the stocks are regenerated. Pressure on keeping some of their young stars is also immense as the class of players such as Kaylen Ponga and Gideon Mosby Gela who are the future of the club may well be forced out or force others out as the salary cap hits and other teams exploit Third Party Agreements without southern journalists paying any attention. Along with a number of departures from the Blackhawks and other NYC players, we are seeing an exodus of talent that may damage all three teams in their 2017 season.

2017 GAINS AND LOSSES

The Cowboys lose a number of players, a victim of their own success and testimony on the quality of the side and the talent coming through the ranks. James Tamou has signed a big deal to move closer to home with the Panthers. Rory Kostjasyn has been secured by the Knights. With the Storm taking young hooker Brandon Smith and the earlier departure of Matthew Wright to the Sea Eagles. The only current signing was undertaken during the season with Corey Jenson proving his value with the Blackhawks. A number of the Blackhawks players who were on the fringe were also snapped up by clubs happy for the North to develop the talent. The replacement players available within the district are exceptional, however it may be a repeat of players of the quality of Valentine Holmes leaving Townsville, if the Cowboys continue to ignore a number of talented young football players.