It was rumoured and now, it has eventuated, with Tom Dearden to depart the Brisbane Broncos to join rivals, the North Queensland Cowboys.
Just this morning, Dearden confirmed his decision to the club and although disappointed, they have their plans and priorities in place.
“Tom Dearden confirmed to the Club this morning that he has signed for the Cowboys from next season,” said Broncos coach Kevin Walters.
“Obviously, we are disappointed but we have clear priorities on who we are targeting to strengthen our roster going forward.
“We will continue to work through that process in the weeks and months ahead.”
Dearden, who is a local Mackay junior, has played in 22 NRL games to date and has signed a three-year deal with the Cowboys.
Cowboys coach Todd Payten is pleased to bring Dearden back home.
“Tom organises his team with great maturity for a 20-year-old, he’s a strong runner, he kicks well and he gets his body in front as a defender,” Payten said.
“He played first grade at 18, so it’s clear he has an abundance of ability and he’s been the standout half in his age group coming through the grades.
“On top of that, he is a North Queensland kid, who is a really good person that is going to add significant value to our roster.”