Cowboys co-captain Chad Townsend says it is important the club retain the services of Jeremiah Nanai and has urged the youngster to pen a new contract.
North Queensland are priced at 3/1 to finish in the top eight this year and keeping hold of the likes of Nanai is crucial to their chances of future success.
The talented second-rower is attracting plenty of attention after scoring a hat-trick of tries in the win over Brisbane last weekend.
Nanai’s agent has suggested a host of NRL rivals have been on the phone and are keen to lure him away. Wests Tigers and Newcastle Knights are among the clubs to be mentioned.
Talks over a new deal are set to begin in the next few weeks and the Cowboys could have to pay big bucks to keep him
There is talk of rivals clubs being ready to offer him a $1.8million deal over three years and the Cowboys may have to match it.
Townsend is in no doubt what North Queensland need to do and hopes a deal can be struck sooner rather than later.
"From experience, when you're a young kid, it's about playing where you're happy and Jeremiah's really happy at the moment you see it in the way he's playing, so it's always important for clubs to retain their local talent," Townsend said.
"I'm really excited for him, I'm happy for him and would love him to stay so, Jeremiah, stay please."