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Gavin Cooper faces a battle to retain his place in the Cowboys starting forward pack for Round 1. Copyright: Shane Wenzlick/NRL Photos
Another key member of the North Queensland Cowboys NRL squad, back-rower Gavin Cooper, has re-signed with the club for a further three seasons.

The Australian Prime Minister's XIII representative from last season is now contracted to North Queensland until the end of the 2017 season and joins Brent Tate as Cowboys who have extended their contracts this season.

The 28-year-old made his NRL debut with the Cowboys in 2006 before heading south for two-year stints at Gold Coast and Penrith.

He returned to North Queensland for the start of the 2011 season and has now played 98 NRL games for the club to take his overall career tally to 174.

"I'm really happy to have my future secured and to be able to stay here in North Queensland which is home for us now," Cooper said.

"I started with the Young Guns here back in 2005 so this club has been a major part of my life.

"We have a great squad, with plenty of good players and good mates who have committed themselves to being long-term Cowboys.

"I'm happy to be one of them."

A member of the Cowboys' leadership group and captain of this year's victorious NRL Auckland Nines squad, Cooper has only missed a handful of games in his second term with North Queensland and has been part of finals campaigns in each of his last three seasons.

His representative debut came last year when he played for the PM's XIII against Papua New Guinea and he was also included in the Kangaroos' Rugby League World Cup train-on squad.

"It's very important that we keep people like Gavin at the Cowboys," general manager of football Peter Parr said.

"Not only is he a high-quality player, he's had a very positive influence on the culture we're trying to build at this club."
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