Townsville bound: Roosters centre Tautau Moga will be a Cowboy as of next week. Photo: Colleen Petch
Roosters centre Tautau Moga will join North Queensland next week after signing a mid-season deal to cover for injured Maroons star Brent Tate.
Moga knocked back approaches from Canberra and Cronulla to link with the Cowboys just before the June 30 transfer window shut.
Moga has been compared to cross-code star Israel Folau when he burst into the NRL two seasons ago. However, two season-ending knee injuries have limited the 20-year-old to just 14 NRL appearances.
The Ipswich product made his long-awaited comeback earlier this year with Newtown but has not been able to break back into first grade with the premiers.
He is now serving a one-week suspension for a chicken wing tackle from last weekend's loss to Wests Tigers at Leichhardt Oval.
The Cowboys are desperate for reinforcements due to a horror injury toll that has sidelined Tate, Matt Scott, Cameron King, Lachlan Coote and Gavin Cooper with long-term injuries.
Moga's shift north will swell the number of former Roosters now at North Queensland. In last Monday's clash with the Knights, the Cowboys fielded eight players who played at either NRL or NYC level at the Roosters.
James Tamou, Antonio Winterstein, Rory Kostjasyn, Ethan Lowe, John Asiata, and Curtis Rona all played for the under-20s at the Roosters, while Glen Hall and Kane Linnett played first grade with the tricolours.
Even the Cowboys coaching team has an ex-Roosters look about it – head coach Paul Green and assistant Terry Matterson are former Rooster first-grade players.
Moga's spot could be taken by troubled star Blake Ferguson. A court again found Ferguson guilty of groping a woman during a boozy night out during the week but a conviction was not recorded.
The Roosters have attempted to register Ferguson before the June 30 deadline and are awaiting a determination from the NRL.
"It's unlikely he will play this year," Roosters chief executive Brian Canavan said.
"It's more along the line of giving him some goals to keep him motivated in every aspect of his rehabilitation on and off field. If that's of assistance, it might expedite his recovery."
However, it is understood the NRL is unlikely to look favourably on the request.
Former NSW forward Tom Learoyd-Lahrs, now languishing in Canberra's feeder cup team Mounties, is another who could shift to Townsville in coming days.
Scott is out indefinitely with a facial fracture and Cowboys officials believe the former Roos and Blues prop could fill the void. The shift would allows the Raiders to free up further salary cap space in the hope of finally landing a recruitment target.
In other signing news, the Gold Coast have secured the services of Panthers back-rower Matt Robinson.