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Cowboys five-eighth Michael Morgan.

Usually when an NRL star negotiates a lucrative five-year deal, the process can be tough but Michael Morgan said it was an easy decision to remain at the North Queensland Cowboys.

The Cowboys have extended the international playmaker's tenure at the club unitl the end of the 2023 Telstra Premiership season.

Morgan will be 31 at the end of the contract and, having been at the club since the age of 17, will have been at the club for 14 years.

"I've known for maybe a week or so that I was staying so I just had to keep it a bit of a secret, obviously my family knew but I tried to keep it as quiet as possible until the club was ready to release it," Morgan said.  

"I always knew I wanted to stay, I wasn't going to just move away and go to another club for the sake of it."

"As long as I was happy here and enjoying my footy I've got great mates here so I had no reason to want to leave."

According to the Morgan, the feeling from the Cowboys was mutual in locking down the star playmaker as the long-term replacement for Johnathan Thurston.

"The club said from the start that they wanted me to stay and I wanted to stay so it wasn't a huge decision or anything it was just agreeing to what both parties thought was the best outcome and thankfully it didn't take too long," he said.  

"I said from the start that it would have been nice to have it done before the season started and I'm glad that we were able to do that."

The Australian and Queensland representative won't rest on his laurels despite having the security of a lengthy deal.

 "For me personally it's nice to be locked in for that long I guess, but you look at the great players of the game they haven't been comfortable with where they're at they've continued to want to improve and stay to that high level for a long time," Morgan said.

"Guys like Cameron Smith, JT, Matt Scott, those guys have always wanted to be the best and be playing at their best and I'm no different so that's more of a motivating factor for me."

He has been the leading replacement for the retiring Thurston for several years and cemented that role with a stellar 2017 season, in which he led North Queensland to a grand final at halfback.

While he's eager to stamp his own mark, he acknowledged that comparisons to Thurston are inevitable.

"People always do it, he's been the halfback here for a very long time and he's been very good while doing it," Morgan said.

"It will happen but I said last year I wasn't trying to replace him and do what he does or anything like that so next year onwards that won't be anything different."

Morgan has also been touted as a captaincy candidate when Thurston and prop Matt Scott hang up their boots but he said the issue "wasn't really spoken about through these negotiations".

"Michael was a Townsville junior, was identified at an early age, and came up through our elite pathways system, from which point he earned an NRL contract with the club," Cowboys general manager of football Peter Parr said after securing Morgan's signature.

"It's no secret the sort of career that Michael has had since then.

"Since making his NRL debut as a teenager in 2010, he has helped the club to its maiden premiership and two grand final appearances in three seasons. He's also made his Queensland and Australian debuts while playing for the Cowboys, something he and the club can be extremely proud of.

"To have him remain a Cowboy for a further five seasons is tremendous news for Michael, the club and all of North Queensland."

Morgan is a North Queensland product who was born in Townsville, attended Ignatius Park College and played his junior football for Townsville Brothers.

Since rising through the under 20s ranks he has played in 128 NRL games and won the 2015 premiership.

He has also played in eight State of Origin games for Queensland in three series wins. Morgan was a key member of Australia's World Cup winning side last year and has played 12 Tests.

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