The Tigers' Robbie Farah tackles Scott Drinkwater of the Cowboys during the teams' round-20 clash on August 1. Picture: Dean Lewins/AAP
The Tigers' Robbie Farah tackles Scott Drinkwater of the Cowboys during the teams' round-20 clash on August 1. Picture: Dean Lewins/AAP

Tigers’ bid to saddle up Cowboy spurned

HE WAS was the young fullback Melbourne Storm initially identified as Billy Slater's long-term replacement.

But unfortunately for the Wests Tigers, young gun Scott Drinkwater has no plans of becoming the back-up option to  Latrell Mitchell.

The Daily Telegraph understands that the Tigers made a discreet inquiry to check out Drinkwater's potential availability on Thursday, just hours after the club pulled a $3.8 million offer to Mitchell.

It is believed Drinkwater indicated he would be staying at the Cowboys at this point to try and fight his way into the starting halves for next season.

Drinkwater joined the Cowboys this year from Melbourne with intentions to take over the No.1 jumper long term.

But Valentine Holmes' recent return to the NRL had cast a huge shadow over Drinkwater's future at the club.

Drinkwater actually started 2019 as the Storm's first-choice fullback before an early season injury left him third in line behind Jahrome Hughes and ultimately Ryan Papenhuyzen, which was why Drinkwater headed to the Cowboys.

Valentine Holmes (right) training with the North Queensland Cowboys.
Valentine Holmes (right) training with the North Queensland Cowboys.

North Queensland coach Paul Green told The Daily Telegraph there was no intention to release Drinkwater.

Drinkwater was actually rated the best young halfback in the country at schoolboy level after claiming the No.7 jumper for the Australian Schoolboys side in 2015, when Nathan Cleary was five-eighth.

While most view Jake Clifford as Michael Morgan's most likely halves partner, Drinkwater certainly has the potential to make a strong case for a starting spot.

With Te Maire Martin's future still unknown, Green said Drinkwater would add valuable depth and competition.

North Queensland Cowboys coach Paul Green. Picture: Michael Chambers/AAP
North Queensland Cowboys coach Paul Green. Picture: Michael Chambers/AAP

"Val has only just got back to training as well so we still need to see where he is at and how he will handle the running load, because it is different to what he has been doing," Green explained.

"And Drinky played a lot of halves growing up. As a kid he played more half than fullback. So given we still haven't got a clearance on Te Maire, we need some depth there as well."

The Tigers are understood to have drawn up a hit list of potential targets that also includes St George Illawarra young gun Zac Lomax, while Matt Moylan's name just won't go away.

The club had also been linked to Josh Addo-Carr before the Storm shut down that speculation on Thursday.

News Corp Australia


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