North Queensland have given coach Neil Henry two seasons to land the Cowboys their first NRL premiership.
Three days after locking away the game’s most precious player, with Johnathan Thurston re-signing until 2017, the Cowboys on Thursday extended Henry’s deal by one year.
It gives him two seasons to hook a premiership after the club provided him with Thurston and super props Matt Scott and James Tamou as a title platform in the next few years.
Henry, who brought up 100 games with the Cowboys with a win over Canterbury in round one last weekend, celebrates his 150th match as a NRL coach in Saturday night’s blockbuster against Melbourne at Dairy Farmers Stadium.
Named Dally M Coach of the Year in 2008, Henry was appointed head mentor of the Cowboys in 2009.
Chief executive Peter Jourdain said Henry’s latest contract extension recognised his achievements in making the 2011 and 2012 finals series and building a squad capable of challenging for the 2013 premiership.
“Neil has taken this club forward considerably and we look forward to him continuing in his role beyond this season,” he said.
“He has done a fantastic job in getting the club into the finals over the last two seasons and we are looking forward to further success this year.”
Henry was an assistant coach at the Cowboys for three years from 2003-’06 before linking with Canberra.
“My links here go back some time now and it remains a huge honour to be the coach of the Cowboys,” Henry said.
“I’m pleased the club has seen fit to extend my time here and it also gives some stability to the other members of the coaching staff who have been working hard to turn North Queensland into a premiership contender.
“Everyone can see further success on the horizon, especially with the calibre of players in this current squad and, when that happens, I’m sure we’ll start talks on a further contract extension.”
The Cowboys still have several players to re-sign at the end of the season including fullback Matt Bowen and veteran centre Brent Tate who are both coming off contract.