Cowboys confirm Michael Morgan as new captain (AAP Image/Michael Chambers)
North Queensland have confirmed Michael Morgan is their new captain as they begin life after Johnathan Thurston.
The playmaker was officially unveiled at the Cowboys' season launch in Townsville with prop Jordan McLean named the new vice-captain.
Morgan will take over the reins from retired great Thurston who shared the captaincy with veteran prop Matt Scott during a stellar eight year stint which included the club's maiden 2015 premiership.
Former Test front-rower Scott will remain in the Cowboys leadership group.
Homegrown talent Morgan was officially ordained as the club's new skipper on Friday after coach Paul Green made up his mind following a meeting with the leadership group on Wednesday.
Green said Morgan had shown he was a leader when he stepped up for an injured Thurston to almost single-handedly guide North Queensland to the 2017 NRL grand final.
"The logical choice would have been to keep Matt Scott on as skipper given he was co-captain for so long, but after the retirement of Johnathan we viewed this decision as an opportunity to build for the future," Green said.
"Morgo showed us in 2017 he had the attributes to lead this club and the benefit of naming him captain now is the fact we still have players of Matt and Gavin Cooper's experience at the club to support both Michael and Jordan.
"The timing ensures we're not throwing Morgo in the deep end."
Morgan, 27, has played 96 NRL games since making his debut with the Cowboys in 2013.
He has also earned nine Origin caps for Queensland and played 12 Tests for Australia.
"The privilege of being named captain of this club is one of the most special moments of my career," Morgan said.
"I've been fortunate enough to play my whole career here, I'm born and raised in Townsville and grew up just down the road from 1300SMILES Stadium. I have a lot of fond memories as a kid of spending the day playing footy at junior league and then coming across to Cowboys games.
"This club has a history of strong leaders and hopefully I can continue the tradition."
The vice-captaincy nod caps a stunning rise for McLean who joined the Cowboys last year after five seasons at Melbourne.
"Macca's appointment is also a look to the future," Green said.
"He has shown strong leadership qualities since the day he arrived at the club and again we thought this was the right time to hand him extra responsibility before some of our more experienced players move on in the next few years."
McLean admitted he was shocked by the sudden ascension.
"It's only my second year at the club and I only managed to play 10 games last year, so this appointment came as a surprise, but I'm honoured to be taking on the role," he said.
"I've grown to love this club very quickly, which is a reflection of the quality of people we have here at the Cowboys along with our fan base.
"They come from all over and pack our stadium every game and I can't wait to run out in front of them next weekend."
North Queensland play their season opener against St George Illawarra on March 16.
© AAP 2019