North Queensland Cowboys anticipate potential raid on Brisbane playmaker stocks as they start looking for Jake Clifford’s replacement for next season

Coach Todd Payten has lifted the veil on the Cowboys’ bold recruiting plans, after Clifford signed an offseason contract with the Knights to start in 2022

Reports emerged last week that Broncos half-back Tom Dearden had been flown to Townsville to tour the Cowboys facilities

Speaking to 7News, Payten revealed that Dearden was not the only point guard for rival Cowboys club on his radar

“We have to look for players to take that place next year,” he said of Clifford’s halfway jersey

“Tom Dearden is available, (Anthony) Milford is available, we’ll get to that in the next few weeks”

At $ 1million five-eight in Brisbane, Milford’s form has been on the wane since the Broncos’ 2015 season, in which they were minutes from a prime ministerial post, ironically losing to the Cowboys to the golden point

The maligned playmaker quits his contract at the end of this season, and Kevin Walters has laid out his plans to assess Milford’s contract after seeing his performances this year

While Clifford won’t be around next year, Cowboys fans won’t have to wait until 2022 to see how Payten rocked the team’s offense

Newly arrived coach has hinted that Origin star Valentine Holmes may not be wearing No 1 this season

Holmes was lured into the NRL from the NFL by the Cowboys, who sealed the former Prime Minister-winning former Shark on a very expensive contract to play fullback last year

“The only person who is guaranteed back is the one who can organize our line the best,” Payten said

“He (Holmes) played wing and center just as Hamiso (Tibuai-Fidow) and (Scott) Drinkwater played five-eighth and full back”

As one of five coaches facing their inaugural season at a new club, much anticipation surrounds Payten’s appointment to the Cowboys, who have missed the final for the past three seasons.

Hailed for his impact as interim Warriors coach in a COVID-19 affected season last year, Payten is looking to make an immediate difference in the way the Cowboys play

“We need to move faster on the defensive side, get out of the line, beat a retreat, make more positive decisions on a tack There’s been a whole new defensive system


World News – UA – Tom Dearden and Anthony Milford on Cowboys radar in major Todd Payten reshuffle