Born in Port Moresby, Macdonald was raised in Cairns.

He made his NRL debut with the Roosters in 2014 and spent two seasons with the club before he signed with Gold Coast.

The winger joined the Dragons in 2017. Macdonald has crossed 31 times in 91 NRL appearances.

The 24-year-old has also played nine Tests for the Kumuls.

"He's a North Queensland kid and we like North Queenslanders representing this region," Cowboys coach Paul Green said.

"Nene is going to offer plenty of depth to our backline and had a fantastic year for the Dragons. I know him on a personal level after coaching him in the under 20s at the Roosters and am confident he will be a good cultural fit for our club as well."