Nene Macdonald’s time at the St George Illawarra Dragons will come to an end, with the hulking winger signing with the North Queensland Cowboys.
McDonald was released by the Dragons from the final year of his contract on compassionate grounds.
Since joining at the start of the 2017 season, McDonald played in 46 games for the Red V and they wished him well.
“Nene has been an important player over the last two seasons at our club,” said Dragons Director of Rugby League Pathways Ian Millward.
“Although he has one year left on his contract, his management and himself approached the club on compassionate reasons for a release.”
“We thought it was in the best interests welfare-wise for Nene to grant him the release, so unfortunately he won’t be with us in 2019.”
Although they have lost McDonald, the Dragons have signed wingers Mikaele Ravalawa and Jonus Pearson.
The move back to the NQ region puts McDonald closer to home with his Papua New Guinean roots.
“He’s a North Queensland kid and we like North Queenslanders representing this region,” said North Queensland Cowboys coach Paul Green.
“Nene is going to offer plenty of depth to our backline and had a fantastic year for the Dragons.
“I know him on a personal level after coaching him in the under 20s at the Roosters and am confident he will be a good cultural fit for our club as well.”
Looking for a big winger to replace the retired Antonio Winterstein, Cowboys Director of Football Peter Parr believes the club has found their man.
“He’s a very talented athlete and with the retirement of Antonio Winterstein we were keen to add to our outside backs and in particular the wing position,” Parr said.
“Nene fits the criteria we were looking for and he indicated to us that he had a desire to return home to North Queensland.
“So, we made some inquiries with the Dragons and they have been very cooperative in helping us bring him back to North Queensland.”