• Congratulations to Tariq Sims and his partner Ashleigh Sudholz who welcomed their first child into the world on Saturday night. Little Lakia Kai Sims was born six weeks earlier than expected but in very good health. “She’s the new love of my life,” Tariq said. “I’m blessed to now have two beautiful girls.”

James Tamou says he's grown quite attached to his beard which is now in its last couple of weeks after the Kangaroos prop committed to shaving it off for the Leukaemia Foundation’s World's Greatest Shave this month. “Brooklyn loves it too. He tugs on it as hard as he can,” Jimmy said of his son. “That might be a good thing about getting rid of it because it hurts.” The beard is something of a good luck charm, featuring in both a Rugby League World Cup win and NRL Auckland Nines victory. “If we start losing, I may have to grow it back,” the NQ front-rower said.

• Young forward Jason Taumalolo was on stage as one of the eight player interviewees at the Cowboys corporate launch on Friday. He told the audience that his primary focus over the pre-season has been improving his defence. “Hopefully you’ll all see the results of that hard work throughout 2014,” the Tongan international said.

• Happy birthday wishes this week go to Test and Origin representative Brent Tate, who turned 32 on Monday and NYC squad member James Redman who is 19 on Saturday.  

• Saturday night’s home game against the Raiders will be a first for a number of our Cowboys football staff. It will be the first game as an NRL head coach for Paul Green, the first for David Furner as Cowboys assistant coach, and the first time Ash Graham will wear the yellow shirt as the on-field trainer for the NYC squad.

• Plenty of NYC Cowboys will be in action in the Mal Meninga Cup for the Townsville Stingers this weekend. After a bye in round one, the under-18 Stingers play the Toowoomba Clydesdales at the TDJRL fields in Kern Brothers Drive from 3.20pm on Saturday. It follows the under-16 Cyril Connell Cup match at 1.30pm.

• Don't forget that kick-off time for our NRL game on Saturday night is 8pm following on from the under-20s season opener at 5.45pm.

• JTee Time has returned for another season, starting with the Raiders clash this weekend. After every attempt at goal, Johnathan Thurston's signed kicking tee will be given away to a young spectator in the crowd, at both home and away matches. “I’m hoping we score plenty of tries in 2014, even more than last year when we gave away dozens of tees in just a few months,” JT said today.

• There’s a new look to the WIN News Locker Room this year with news reporter Trent Simpson hosting a “Trickshots” segment that will feature a different Cowboy each week. It will be on air on Wednesday night’s news from 7pm with Jason Taumalolo the first contestant.

Ashton Sims is back on the air with his weekly Hot FM breakfast segment in Townsville. He’ll be chatting with Cliffo and Tiana on Wednesday morning.

• Tune in to the year’s first episode of Sterlo on Fox Sports 1 on Thursday night for a special feature story put together by reporter Tim Sheridan who visited Cowboys HQ recently. The show airs at 6.30pm (Qld time).

• Cowboys member Karrie Webb has had an exciting start to 2014 – after winning the Australian Open in Melbourne on the same day as our NRL Auckland Nines triumph, Ayr’s favourite sporting star finished third in the HSBC Champions tournament in Singapore at the weekend.

• Fox Sports has named Cowboys outside back Curtis Rona as one of its "10 young guns to watch" in 2014. “Rona starred in the victorious Auckland Nines team, scoring two tries in the final, and the only players ahead of him in the backline pecking order are regulars Brent Tate, Kane Linnett, Antonio Winterstein and Kyle Feldt,” Tom Sangster wrote on foxsports.com.au.

• Our cover pic – outgoing Cowboys sponsorship manager and JT's fiancee Samantha Lynch was farewelled by Toyota at last week's corporate launch. We know she'll keep very busy looking after JT and running after little Frankie!