Joyce and Cobb expected to run as Nationals deputy leader

WHILE Warren Truss's leadership of The Nationals seems secure, two long-term party members were expected to jostle to be his deputy during a party meeting in Canberra on Friday.

Barnaby Joyce, who successfully made the move to the lower house at Saturday's Federal Election, said he would be running for the deputy leader's position.

But he will face a challenger in former Coalition agriculture spokesman John Cobb, who earlier this week announced his intention to run.

The contest for deputy comes as the smaller Coalition partner was expected to secure only three ministerial posts, pitting Mr Joyce and Mr Cobb against each other for front-bench selection.

It is understood the Northern Territory's Senator Nigel Scullion was preferred as new indigenous affairs minister, leaving the traditional Nationals agriculture portfolio in the balance.

While Mr Joyce is expected to have the numbers in the contest, Mr Cobb was seen as an insurance policy against a possible future challenge by Mr Joyce for Mr Truss's role.