Former Bronco Tom Dearden has been named to start at halfback tonight in his Cowboys debut.

Dearden earlier this year signed a three-year deal with North Queensland before the Broncos granted the 20-year-old an early release to link up with the Cowboys mid-season.

The young playmaker’s arrival comes at a perfect time after the Cowboys lost veteran Michael Morgan to retirement. The club also allowed Jake Clifford to join the Knights a season earlier with an early release.

“He’s a really polite kid, really respectful,” Cowboys coach Todd Payten said of Dearden earlier in the week.

“We’ve manipulated our attacking points to take a little bit of the pressure off him, but his skill set and his talk and direction was pretty good, so I’m excited to see how he goes.”

Along with Dearden’s inclusion into the side, the Cowboys will welcome back Jason Taumalolo from suspension, while fullback Valentine Holmes also comes back in following Origin duties with the Maroons.

Sea Eagles team: 5. Reuben Garrick 2. Jason Saab 4. Morgan Harper 15. Moses Suli 3. Brad Parker 6. Kieran Foran 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Taniela Paseka 9. Lachlan Croker 10. Martin Taupau 11. Haumole Olakau’atu 12. Karl Lawton 13. Jake Trbojevic 14. Dylan Walker 16. Ben Trbojevic 17. Toafofoa Sipley 18. Kurt De Luis

Cowboys team: 1. Valentine Holmes 18. Justin O’Neill 3. Javid Bowen 4. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow 5. Murray Taulagi 6. Scott Drinkwater 7. Tom Dearden 8. Tom Gilbert 9. Reece Robson 10. Jordan McLean 11. Shane Wright 12. Coen Hess 13. Jason Taumalolo 14. Jake Granville 15. Peter Hola 16. Lachlan Burr 17. Francis Molo