Their entry into the 2015 Intrust Super Cup season wasn't formalised until September but the Townsville & Districts Blackhawks continue with their impressive recruitment drive, signing former Queensland Origin forward Neville Costigan.
Costigan has signed a two-year deal with the Blackhawks after citing "personal reasons" to cut his stint with Hull KR in the Super League after just one year of a two-year deal in which he played 24 games for Rovers. Costigan has been training with the Blackhawks for the past month but the news only become official on Friday when Hull agreed to release him from the final year of his contract.
Originally a Mackay junior, Costigan played six Origins for Queensland as well as captaining Papua New Guinea in the 2013 World Cup and joins Tom Humble, Ricky Thorby, Anthony Mitchell and Wayne Ulugia as inaugural Blackhawks boasting NRL experience.
The North Queensland product has notched up almost 200 games in the NRL and Super League since he began his career at the Broncos in 2003. As well as the Brisbane Broncos, Costigan has played for the Raiders, Dragons and Knights and said he is excited to be returning to Queensland.
"I am looking forward to a new challenge both on and off the field and I am thankful to Hull KR for the understanding and professionalism they have displayed in allowing me this opportunity to return to Queensland and play in the Intrust Super Cup," Costigan said.
Football operations manager Adrian Thomson said the addition of Costigan is not only a win for the Blackhawks but a boost to the competition as a whole.
"Signing a player of Neville's calibre will have a significant impact on our club as well as the entire competition because players like Neville excite the fans and raise the profile of the game in the region," Thomson said.
"A player of his standing not only bolsters our forward stocks on field but also contributes to our off-field success."
Known for his steel in defence, Costigan began pre-season training with the club in November and has settled into Townsville with his partner Stevie.
Coach Kristian Woolf is confident the hard-running forward will bring a robustness to the team.
"Neville is well respected in the playing group and he has a unique strength about him as a competitor," said Woolf. "He is a welcome addition to our team and I am sure he will impress when he takes to the field."