• While Camp Cowboys on the Gold Coast has been full of training sessions and planning meetings, our NRL squad did get some time off on Monday to enjoy the Royal Pines Resort’s championship golf course, with the players and coaching staff split up into 18 two-man teams for a nine-hole ambrose competition. For some, it was their first time on a golf course, while others like Gavin Cooper and Matt Scott try to get out for a game regularly. Coops and Ricky Thorby finished a shot behind the winners, Kyle Feldt and performance analyst Josh Carius, who turned in a scorecard of three-over-par 39 and won a couple of newly purchased, second-hand Cowboys Royal Pines Masters jackets for their efforts.
• The Cowboys travelled off-site to have dinner at the Burleigh Leagues Club on Tuesday night after demolishing the magnificent buffet at QT at Surfers Paradise on Sunday. While on the Gold Coast, they’ve also been using the facilities at the Runaway Bay Super Sports Centre for weights training. A busy week for the boys will continue on Friday with training back at Cowboys HQ on Friday morning before they attend the club's Corporate Launch at the Townsville Entertainment and Convention Centre at lunch time.
• The NRL Auckland Nines trophy will be at the Cowboys Leagues Club on Thursday night for our Supporters Team’s weekly raffles. Head along from 6.30pm to get a picture with our first NRL trophy and meet NYC squad members Josh Chudleigh and Hayden Crowley. The raffles are drawn from 7.45pm.
• The Nines trophy is also set to head off on a tour of the North Queensland Toyota Dealers shortly so many of our members and fans across the north can share the winning feeling. We’ll have more details on the tour next week.
• There’s another piece of victory 'silverware' to add to the trophy cabinet at Cowboys HQ – the Toowoomba Rugby League presented co-captain Johnathan Thurston with a special plaque after the win against the Titans at Clive Berghofer Stadium last weekend. JT was very proud to hold it up and claim he was now level with good mate Gavin Cooper who hoisted the Nines trophy aloft at Eden Park.
• The Cowboys’ outstanding pre-season results have led to their premiership odds being cut to $12 with most bookies. The clubs ahead of NQ in betting are the Roosters, Souths, Manly and Melbourne.
• Johnathan Thurston is adamant that there is still much for North Queensland to improve on before the opening game of the premiership proper. “Our defence could probably be a bit better,” JT said after the win against the Titans. “Our transition from contact to ground can be better. They poked their noses through a fair bit and found their knees and elbows which put our markers under the pump. We gave away a few cheap penalties so obviously our discipline can be better. There's a lot for the club to work on before we've got the Raiders in Round 1.”
• Birthday wishes this week go to Ashton Sims, who turns 29 today.
• Big League’s season preview magazine is now available in newsagents. It includes a wrap-up of our Auckland Nines victory and a four-page preview of our 2014 season including a Q&A with coach Paul Green.