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The North Queensland Cowboys have rejected speculation they are poised to sign veteran forward Kevin Campion who leaves the New Zealand Warriors at the end of this National Rugby League (NRL) season.
Campion, who played State of Origin for Queensland in 2001 and this year, was linked with the bottom-placed Cowboys in Sydney newspaper reports yesterday but the Townsville-based operation's first priority was to re-sign existing players who were off contract.
Winger Ty Williams and halfback Nathan Fien have been re-signed for two years while the club was anxious to settle a new deal with hooker John Doyle.
However, Cowboys media manager Tim Nugent admitted Campion was of interest.
"We're aware he's on the market and it's no secret (coach) Graham Murray has said the team's deficiencies are in the forwards.
"A tough forward would be a handy acquisition for us, he is one of the great players that are going around."
Nugent was unaware of any specific negotiations between the club and Campion.
The former Gold Coast, St George, Adelaide and Broncos lock is closing in on 200 NRL appearances, with Sunday's clash at the Sharks his 192nd first grade match.
Campion and fellow veteran Ivan Cleary are looking for new clubs after they were squeezed out as the Warriors grappled with a $A3.25 million ($NZ3.79 million) salary cap.
Fullback Cleary has been linked with a return to Manly, where he started his career, while Wests Tigers might also be interested in the prolific goalkicker.