AAP Rugby

Rebuilding Cowboys nab Opacic and Baptiste

By AAP Newswire

North Queensland's roster makeover has continued with the recruitments of Brisbane centre Tom Opacic and Sydney Roosters rake Kurt Baptiste.

Opacic has been signed until the end of the 2020 NRL season, while Baptiste is contracted for next year.

The Cowboys also announced extensions for centres Javid Bowen (2019) and Dan Russell, who has a two-year extension.

Opacic, Bowen and Russell provide coach Paul Green with backline options following the exits of premiership winners Kane Linnett and Antonio Winterstein.

It comes in the same week the club unveiled the luring of centre-wing Nene Macdonald from the Dragons, and a fortnight after confirmation of fullback Ben Barba joining the club.

Barba takes the place of the departing Lachlan Coote, in what looms as the biggest rebuild in club history given the retirement of champion Johnathan Thurston.

Cowboys director of football Peter Parr hinted that Baptiste would form a hooker tag team with Jake Granville next season.

Baptiste was primarily a back-up to Jake Friend for the premiership-winning Roosters side this year, but has previously played a support role in Canberra.

""We are delighted to secure the services of Kurt Baptiste as we believed we needed a genuine hooker to work in tandem with Jake Granville," Parr said

"Kurt's form during his tenure at Canberra was excellent and I thought he was impressive this year for the Roosters in limited opportunities."