2006 North Queensland Cowboys season
|2006 North Queensland Cowboys season|
|Play-off result||Missed finals|
|record||Wins: 11; Draws: 0; Losses: 13|
|Points scored||For: 450; Against: 463|
|Stadium||Dairy Farmers Stadium|
|High. Attend.||24,658 (vs. Brisbane Broncos, Round 20)|
|Tries||Matt Sing (13)|
|Goals||Johnathan Thurston (49)|
|Points||Johnathan Thurston (142)|
Coming off the back of their maiden Grand Final appearance, the Cowboys were strong premiership favourites heading into the 2006 season. They looked like they would be living up to those expectations, with a six-game winning streak to start the season. It wouldn't last though, as the club would lose eight of their next 10, including a six-game losing streak which left them outside the Top 8 halfway through the season. A win against arch-rivals Brisbane in the Queensland derby put them into 6th place with six games remaining but they would lose Johnathan Thurston to injury and another losing streak followed, dashing their finals aspirations. Wins over South Sydney and Parramatta ended their season a good note but it wasn't enough, the pre-season title favourites finishing the season in 9th.
Despite the disappointing season, 2006 saw the debut of club legend Gavin Cooper, who made his debut in Round 2. Cooper would leave the club at the end of the year, spending two seasons with the Gold Coast Titans and two with the Penrith Panthers before rejoining the Cowboys in 2011. Cooper would become an integral part of the club, starting in their 2015 NRL Grand Final and 2016 World Club Challenge winning sides.
2006 was also the final season for club stalwarts Travis Norton and Matt Sing. Norton, who captained the side from 2004 to 2007, and Sing, who scored 73 tries for the club and rejuvenated his career in the process, were key figures in the club's transformation from cellar dwellers into a credible premiership threat. In 2015, Sing was one of the two inaugural inductees into the Cowboys Hall of Fame.
- Round 2: Clint Amos and Gavin Cooper made their NRL debuts.
- Round 4: Mitchell Sargent played his 50th game for the club.
- Round 5: Shane Tronc played his 50th game for the club.
- Round 5: Gavin Cooper scored his first NRL try.
- Round 7: Steve Southern played his 50th game for the club.
- Round 7: Ashley Graham made his debut for the club.
- Round 10: Robert Tanielu made his debut for the club.
- Round 14: Travis Norton played his 50th game for the club.
- Round 16: Rod Jensen played his 50th game for the club.
- Round 16: Ray Cashmere made his debut for the club.
- Round 17: Mark Henry and Brent McConnell made their NRL debuts.
- Round 17: Brent McConnell scored his first NRL try.
- Round 21: Mark Henry scored his first NRL try.
- Round 22: David Faiumu played his 50th game for the club.
- Round 22: Matt Sing played his 100th game for the club.
- Round 26: Josh Hannay played his 150th game for the club.
|North Queensland Cowboys NRL Squad 2006|
|First team squad||Coaching staff|
|Russell Aitken||Cronulla Sharks|
|Brett Anderson||Parramatta Eels|
|Ray Cashmere||Wests Tigers|
|Ashley Graham||Parramatta Eels (mid-season)|
|Mark Henry||Central Comets|
|Robert Tanielu||Melbourne Storm|
|Russell Aitken||Melbourne Storm (mid-season)|
|Jaiman Lowe||South Sydney Rabbitohs|
|David Myles||Toulouse Olympique|
|Paul Rauhihi||Warrington Wolves|
|6||St. George Illawarra||24||14||0||10||2||519||481||+38||32|
1The Melbourne Storm were later stripped of this minor premiership due to gross salary cap breaches.
2The New Zealand Warriors were deducted 4 competition points due to gross salary cap breaches.
The following players played a representative match in 2006.
|ANZAC Test||City vs Country||State of Origin 1||State of Origin 2||State of Origin 3||Tri-Nations||World Cup qualifiers|
- Player of the Year: Aaron Payne
- Player's Player: Luke O'Donnell
- Club Person of the Year: Glen Murphy