As the season draws to a close, contract negotiations are only just heating up for Gavin Cooper with the veteran forward keen to go around again for the Cowboys in 2020.
The seasoned second-rower said there were a couple of things to "nut out" in his contract negotiations with the club but he’s closing in on making a decision about his playing future.
"I don't plan on hanging them up and we’ll make a call in the not too distant future," he said.
Despite interest from other clubs, Cooper shut down negotiations pretty quickly, preferring to stay in Townsville - he made his debut for North Queensland against Manly 13 years ago and apart from short stints at the Titans and Panthers, has played the vast majority of his career as a Cowboy.
"It was either, we'll do something here or we won't do anything at all," he said.
"It's an exciting squad and I know people will base this year just on wins and losses but there's a couple of guys that are coming into the squad now that you've seen a little bit of footy from.
"All the injuries this year, you can look at it as a negative but to give a couple of guys a chance in first grade is really good signs for the future and I'd like to be part of that."
Match Highlights: Cowboys v Panthers
The Cowboys will play their final game at 1300SMILES Stadium on Thursday night against the Bulldogs and Cooper has many fond memories from the venue.
"My debut, my first try, Mango [Matt Bowen] passed it to me. It'll be an emotional night," he said.
"Speaking to a couple of guys I met at the leagues club the other night, they were here at the first game against the Bulldogs and sliding down the hill on the grass. They said for the last game, they want to get some GA tickets just to sit on the grass again, so it does show that the ground does mean a little bit to some people."
The Bulldogs have found some form over the past two months and mathematically are still a chance of making the top eight, if they continue their winning ways and other results are favourable.
"That was us two years ago," Cooper said in reference to their unexpected charge to the 2017 grand final from eighth place.
“I know people are saying we haven't got a whole lot to play for this time of year but playing for each other and if we play like we did on the weekend [against the Panthers] we’ll give ourselves a good chance to win."
Michael Morgan’s leadership came into question over the weekend after reports emerged off a spat between the captain and coach Paul Green following the 42-6 loss against the Knights in Newcastle in round 22.
Every try from Round 23
Morgan on Monday played down the incident and said his relationship with Green was strong.
Cooper believes Green is still the man to take them to the finals next year.
"I've got no reason to doubt it. There's lots being said over the past couple of days about it, but I think the captain and coach are right to have a couple of conversations," he said.
"I don’t know if someone's overheard something and taking it the wrong way but I think him [Morgo] and Greeny have a good relationship on and off the field."