Matt Scott’s reign as Cowboys skipper is over. Picture: Zak Simmonds.
Matt Scott’s reign as Cowboys skipper is over. Picture: Zak Simmonds.

Scott set to be axed in Cowboys leadership bombshell

NORTH Queensland's greatest prop Matt Scott will be stripped of the captaincy under coach Paul Green's plan to install a new leadership structure at the Cowboys.

Green is poised to drop a leadership bombshell, scrapping the Cowboys' eight-year co-captaincy model in a move that will see Scott replaced by a single full-time skipper this season.

Green has kept his leadership blueprint a guarded secret as North Queensland prepare to unveil their new captain at the club's gala season launch in Townsville on March 8.

 

But Scott's superb premiership-winning reign as skipper is over, with Jordan McLean emerging as a challenger to chief playmaker Michael Morgan to lead the Cowboys in the post-Johnathan Thurston era.

It is understood Morgan will clinch the captaincy, but Green is a huge fan of McLean's leadership potential.

Scott and Thurston were co-captains since 2011 and skippered the Cowboys to their historic premiership triumph in 2015.

Scott was expected to be retained as skipper this season but after making a successful comeback from neck surgery against the Titans on Saturday night, the 33-year-old revealed he is ready to be dethroned.

Johnathan Thurston and Matt Scott skippered the Cowboys to the 2015 NRL premiership. Picture: Zak Simmonds
Johnathan Thurston and Matt Scott skippered the Cowboys to the 2015 NRL premiership. Picture: Zak Simmonds

In a sign of the leadership winds of change sweeping the Cowboys, Scott's front-row cohort McLean led the side out in their 22-16 trial defeat of the Titans at Sunshine Coast Stadium.

"I don't think we will go towards co-captains (this year)," Scott said.

"Greeny is pretty keen to go to a single captaincy model.

"I'm pretty happy at this stage of my career (to be replaced as captain).

"We need to prepare for the future. The best way to do that is to hand the captaincy over to someone else and for me to take a step back, not in my leadership role around the club, but just in my public role as a leader.

"Greeny is holding his cards close to his chest but Macca led the team out (on Saturday night), so that's a bit of an indication on the way Greeny is leaning."

The demotion of Scott will come as a shock because he is a revered figure at the Cowboys.

No current player at the club can match the toughness and courage that has seen Scott overcome neck and back injuries to play 251 NRL games, 22 Origin matches and 22 Tests for Australia.

Jordan Mclean is a surprise contender to captain the Cowboys in 2019. Picture: Zak Simmonds
Jordan Mclean is a surprise contender to captain the Cowboys in 2019. Picture: Zak Simmonds

With Thurston, Scott was named the NRL's captain of the year in 2015, but with the Maroons warhorse inching towards retirement, possibly this year, Green is keen for a long-term leader.

Scott pledged to play a key supporting role for Morgan or McLean.

"I will do whatever I can do to help the leaders of our club and help them along the way," he said.

"Morgo has matured a lot the last two years.

"I think 2017 (when Thurston was injured) was a blessing in disguise for him. He got forced into that leadership role.

"Morgo would be able to handle the captaincy. He has good support around him in myself, Macca, Jase (Jason Taumalolo) and Coops (Gavin Cooper), so there is plenty of help and support there if he needs it.

"Morgo is pretty mature and calm so I'm sure he could handle it."