Manly's Lawton signs with Cowboys on two-year deal

North Queensland have signed Manly utility Karl Lawton on a two-year contract from next year.

The 28-year-old has played as a hooker, second-rower and off the bench for Gold Coast, the Warriors and Sea Eagles in 87 games.

Cowboys legend Jake Granville is in the twilight of his career and while the 2015 premiership-winning hero is yet to call it quits, Lawton will provide excellent cover in the role that the 35-year-old now plays.

Cowboys general manager of football Micheal Luck said Lawton would be a sterling support to NSW hooker Reece Robson.

"We’re thrilled to be able to secure a player of Karl’s experience for 2025 and beyond," Luck said.

"He brings all the attributes Todd Payten loves as a coach – competitiveness, fitness, skill and versatility.

"We are blessed to have a world-class hooker in Reece Robson and a number of talented dummy halves coming through our junior system and we believe Karl will be both a wonderful support for Reece and mentor to our emerging players."

Meanwhile Payten said he hoped Queensland representative winger Murray Taulagi would be back "around the two-week mark" after suffering a hamstring injury in the 27-20 round-six loss to Parramatta.

Fiji international Semi Valemei will replace Taulagi away to Cronulla on Sunday.

"We are not going to miss much," Payten said.

"He was a shandy off being in the round-one team and performed really well in the trials.

"We saw what he can do for us last year where he carries the ball really strong, can find the tryline and makes really good decisions (in defence).

"I am excited for him and he's been really patient and professional around the group."

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