Family key to decision on future for Cowboys’ Townsend

Jasper Bruce |

Chad Townsend says he will look at all the options available before deciding on his future.
Chad Townsend says he will look at all the options available before deciding on his future.

Chad Townsend hopes to make a call on his future within weeks, with the North Queensland halfback saying he could rebuff NRL interest to finish his career overseas.

The off-contract playmaker will be 34 by the time the next NRL season starts, but has made no secret of his desire to play into 2025.

The 2016 premiership winner has met with a handful of NRL clubs, most recently Canterbury late last month, about signing on for a swan-song campaign.

The Bulldogs are no longer in the race for the No.7, while the Sydney Roosters have publicly stated they are interested in signing an experienced half to replace Luke Keary.

But along with interest from inside the NRL, Townsend has held meetings about a potential move to the Super League.

With the seventh-placed Cowboys’ charge to the finals in full swing, Townsend is hopeful of making a decision on his playing future in a matter of weeks.

“At the moment, I’ve been assessing all my options, I’ve made it no secret that I want to see everything that’s out there for me,” Townsend told AAP.

“I’ve had multiple meetings over the last couple of months and I think I’m just about ready to make a decision. That’ll happen over the next couple of weeks.”

A change of scenery is attractive for Townsend, who has never previously considered a move to the Super League, given demand for his services around the NRL.

But staying in Australia also has its upsides, with the halfback keen on remaining front of mind as he hopes to pursue a media career in retirement.

Townsend also has four young children to think about.

“There’s multiple scenarios, overseas is definitely an option, staying in Australia is definitely an option,” he said.

“Ultimately my decision will be based around my young family. 

“I want to make the decision for them, and you want to think about life after football and the things that I enjoy.”

Also keen to try his hand at coaching, Townsend’s leadership capabilities would fit well with a young playing group, or a side in the midst of rebuilding.

“He’s always keeping our group calm,” Cowboys coach Todd Payten said.

“It’s like having a coach on the field, which is great.”

But after helping the depleted Cowboys to a 16-6 defeat of reigning premiers Penrith on Sunday, the 33-year-old Townsend feels he has plenty to offer with ball in hand as well.

“I still feel like I contribute at this level and I just love the game,” he said.

“It’s going to be a really big decision, to be fair, but I’m excited for it.”