North Queensland Cowboys season launch from the Townsville Entertainment & Convention Centre. Newly appointed Cowboys captain Michael Morgan alongside vice captain Jordan McLean. Picture: Zak Simmonds
North Queensland Cowboys season launch from the Townsville Entertainment & Convention Centre. Newly appointed Cowboys captain Michael Morgan alongside vice captain Jordan McLean. Picture: Zak Simmonds

McLean ready to lead by example

NEW Cowboys vice-captain Jordan McLean was lost for words when first approached about the role, but the towering prop says he's excited to help lead the club into a new era.

Michael Morgan will take over the captaincy with McLean to serve as deputy as coach Paul Green shakes up his leadership group following Johnathan Thurston's retirement.

Local junior Morgan has long been touted as a future leader at the Cowboys, but McLean was a surprising choice as vice-captain given he only moved to Townsville from the Melbourne Storm last season.

Things didn't go according to plan for the 27-year-old after he was sidelined for four months with a foot injury and McLean admitted he hadn't given any thought to a potential leadership role this season.

"I got approached by Greeny and at the time I was pretty shocked," he said.

North Queensland Cowboys 2019 Season Launch. Socials. Brianna Apps and Jordan McLean
North Queensland Cowboys 2019 Season Launch. Socials. Brianna Apps and Jordan McLean

"He just asked my thoughts on it and I didn't really know what to say and then I saw him a week later and said 'yeah, good to go'.

"I've only been here for two years and didn't play that many games last year so I wasn't even thinking anything about it, but I'm very proud to partner 'Morgs' there."

McLean has been a revelation through the middle since joining the Cowboys, averaging 114 metres per game, and he didn't expect to change his playing style as vice-captain.

"Doing more good stuff and less bad stuff on the field," he quipped.

"The hard conversations that need to be said, I'm happy to do that and that's probably one of the reasons why 'Greeny' asked me to be vice-captain."

Green said it had been a difficult process given premiership co-captain Matt Scott is still at the club, but he felt promoting Morgan and McLean this season would help strengthen their leadership group.

Jordan McLean of the Cowboys runs the ball during the NRL Trial match between the Melbourne Storm and the North Queensland Cowboys on March 02, 2019 in Mackay, Australia. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)
Jordan McLean of the Cowboys runs the ball during the NRL Trial match between the Melbourne Storm and the North Queensland Cowboys on March 02, 2019 in Mackay, Australia. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

"While we've made those changes this year we've still got guys like Matt Scott and Gavin Cooper in the squad to be able to help in that area," Green said.

"Part of that leadership is developing those guys (Morgan and McLean). It's not an easy transition, particularly when you lose guys like Johnathan Thurston and Matt Scott.

"You see other clubs have really taken years to get over that so this is hopefully fast-tracking that leadership development."

McLean felt he and Morgan would work well together in their new roles.

"Just playing alongside 'Morgs', he's very cool, calm, and collected out there. He doesn't let his emotions take over so he's definitely the man for the job," McLean said.

"If 'Morgs' needs an opinion he probably won't need to ask because I'll tell him straight away. I'm happy for him to lean on me."