Jordan Kahu is expected to sign a one-year deal with the Cowboys as early as this weekend but the eventual jewel in the crown for North Queensland remains Valentine Holmes.
It is expected there will be an announcement on Kahu’s future after the All Stars clash on Friday night, where the Broncos utility back is representing the New Zealamd Maori, and that he will play for the Cowboys this year.
NRL.com has contacted Cowboys and Broncos officials and both have refused to comment on the development as Kahu is contracted to Brisbane for 2019
On Thursday night negotiations were understood to be undergoing.
After the sacking of Ben Barba recently, the Cowboys are seeking a replacement fullback in their top 30 squad and the 28-year-old Kiwi international fits the bill on several counts.
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He has previously expressed a desire to play fullback but has been stuck behind Darius Boyd at Brisbane, he can play anywhere in the outside backs and is an accomplished goal kicker, which the Cowboys are also seeking in the wake of Johnathan Thurston’s retirement.
Kahu is also in a situation at Brisbane where he is not guaranteed a spot in the top 17 each week due to the development of Kotoni Staggs and Gehamat Shibasaki.
Playing into all of this is the fact that the Cowboys will make a play for Holmes in 2020 if his NFL dream is not realised. There are as many as 12 Cowboys off contract at the end of 2019 so the club will have the cap space and the capacity to manoeuvre if the 2016 Sharks premiership winner wishes to return to the NRL.
Holmes has previously expressed a desire to return to Townsville, where he was born, and the Cowboys are favourites to secure his signature.
If Kahu does fire in 2019 for the Cowboys there is also the possibility his tenure will be extended, as the club was open to doing with Barba if he had proven to be a success.
The Courier Mail reported on Thursday night that Cowboys forward Ethan Lowe was set to sign with South Sydney.
NRL.com understands no approach has been made to the Cowboys by Lowe seeking a release, or by Souths, but that is not to say North Queensland is not expecting it.
It is also understood the Cowboys would have no intention of chipping in financially to facilitate any release.
Last year Lowe took up a one-year option in his favour for 2019 with the Cowboys. Several seasons back he was close to Maroons selection but had an up and down season in 2018 where he played 15 NRL games and spent the majority of the second half of the year playing in the Intrust Super Cup for the Northern Pride.
Lowe is close to South Sydney assistant coach Jason Demetriou and rated highly by the former Broncos assistant. He played under Demetriou at the Pride where he won an Intrust Super Cup title. Demetriou was also an assistant coach at North Queensland when the Cowboys won the 2015 NRL title.