Prime Minister’s XIII forward Gavin Cooper will captain the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys' squad for the inaugural NRL Auckland Nines this weekend.
The strong Cowboys lineup includes Kangaroos and NSW front-rower James Tamou, who will join Antonio Winterstein, Kane Linnett, Ray Thompson and Joel Riethmuller in seeing their first on-field action of the 2014 season.
Fellow World Cup Cowboys Jason Taumalolo, Tariq Sims and Rory Kostjasyn will back up after playing in Saturday night’s 32-8 trial match victory against Brisbane at Dolphin Oval in Redcliffe.
Coach Paul Green’s 16-man squad also features recent NYC graduates Zac Santo and Javid Bowen as well as new fullback Lachlan Coote.
It will be Cooper’s debut as a Cowboys captain with regular co-captains Matt Scott and Johnathan Thurston, along with fellow Kangaroos representative Brent Tate, rested from the Nines after their hectic 2013 season and late start to pre-season for 2014.