• The Cowboys’ trial against the Gold Coast Titans in Toowoomba on Saturday week is almost a sell-out and the remaining tickets should go quickly now that coach Paul Green has revealed he expects Kangaroos stars Johnathan ThurstonMatt Scott and Brent Tate all to play. It will be a return home for JT who went to school at St Mary’s College in Toowoomba before signing with the Bulldogs, and the only game the three Queensland Origin representatives will play before round one. Tickets from Toowoomba Rugby League on (07) 4632 4748 – GA tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children.

• JT and coach Paul Green will be among the special guests at the Sportsman’s Dinner in Toowoomba on the night before the trial. Tickets are $1,000 for a table of 10 or $100 per person and include a four-course meal and a complimentary drink – call (07) 4632 4748 to book.

• Keep an eye out for a couple of special scrum moves from the Cowboys during the NRL Auckland Nines this weekend. Assistant coach David Furner has been working on a couple of variations of the old “flying wedge” from the late 70s/early 80s.

• There was a significant betting move on North Queensland once the Nines squads were all announced on Tuesday. Our price tumbled from $26 to $17.

• We’ve discovered the last time Gavin Cooper was the captain of a rugby league team. He skippered the Murgon Mustangs under-17s in 2002, winners of the South Burnett premiership. More than 11 years later, he’ll lead the Cowboys out in the Auckland Nines.

• The Cowboys have scheduled a recovery training run in Auckland on Thursday afternoon after making the long trip to New Zealand from Townsville on Wednesday. After arriving at the airport at 10.30am, the Nines squad finally made it to their downtown Auckland accommodation in the early hours of Thursday morning. They will visit the Glenora Bears in west Auckland for two hours from 4.30pm on Thursday afternoon.

• Paul Bowman has added another responsibility to his role as Cowboys’ high performance manager. The former Origin back is now the NRL squad’s blue-shirt trainer on game days with the important job of passing on coach Paul Green’s messages to his players on the field when the NRL rules allow.

• The Footy Show cameras visited Cowboys HQ on Tuesday to throw some questions at our players for their Player Probe segment. Keep an eye out during the season for Gavin Cooper singing Bohemian Rhapsody and Cameron King doing his best twerking. The other interviewees were co-captains Matt Scott and Johnathan Thurston, the Sims brothers and Lachlan Coote.

• This week’s Cowboys birthday boy is NYC back Alex Grant who will celebrate his 20th birthday on Monday. The Ballina junior has been switched from five-eighth to fullback for the trials as coach Todd Wilson tries to find a replacement for Zac Santo who is now in our NRL squad.

• Congratulations to the winners of Bluey's team poster comp – Julianne Maginnis, Wayne Utley and Amy Roberts. Follow Bluey on Twitter @CowboysBluey for updates, insights and more chances to win!

• Massive Liverpool fan Sam Hoare had some mixed feelings about his team’s 5-1 thrashing of Premier League leaders Arsenal on Saturday night. Because he had to play in the trial against Brisbane in Redcliffe, the young front-rower missed out on seeing all of the action, including the first four goals, on Fox Sports. However the fact that the Reds remained in the title hunt wiped any of that disappointment away.

• Thanks to all of the North Queensland members and supporters who came along to cheer for our team at Redcliffe last Saturday night. The crowd of 11,200 was almost double that at Dolphin Oval for Broncos v Melbourne last year.