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Cowboys fullback Te Maire Martin.

North Queensland have noticeably lacked spark since their amazing run to the 2017 finals, with their outside backs in particular struggling to generate the same impact as rival backlines.

The Cowboys made a strong call in the 2019 pre-season, sacking star signing Ben Barba after an off-field incident, and while the mid-season addition of Scott Drinkwater helped, it was too little too late.

Their backline woes were exacerbated by injuries to the likes of Kyle Feldt, the since-departed Nene Macdonald, Justin O'Neill and Jordan Kahu.

But in the final wash-up, North Queensland's numbers don't make pretty reading, with the fewest metres from the back five of any club.

They finished with the fewest metres gained from fullback and the fewest metres gained from the left wing position, while left centre was second-worst and right centre seventh-worst.

The one exception was right wing, from where Feldt (138 metres per game in his 16 games) helped the club finish fifth-best for metres from the right wing.

The Cowboys made the fewest tackle busts from the back five with 243, the fewest offloads (44) and the second-fewest line breaks (38). They will be hoping the addition of tackle busting Kiwi Esan Marsters and former Kangaroos sensation Val Holmes will turn these figures around quickly in 2020.


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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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