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• The first representative teams for the year will be chosen this weekend and there’s a host of Toyota Cowboys in line for a call-up. It would be a huge surprise if co-captains Johnathan Thurston and Matt Scott don’t retain their places in the Australian starting team, while James Tamou should also have a front-row spot locked down even though he has been critical of his own form in 2014. Brent Tate’s strong performances over the past two weeks have definitely helped his claims for a recall to the Kangaroos’ 17 after he missed out on playing in the World Cup final against New Zealand. Meanwhile, the Sims brothers, Tariq and Ashton, have a Fiji v Samoa Test in Penrith to look forward to with the winner to play in this year’s Four Nations, or Tariq could decide to make himself available instead for NSW Country Origin for their annual match against City Origin in Dubbo. Kane Linnett is another contender for Country duties.

• Not only is it Anzac Day on Friday, it’s co-captain Johnathan Thurston’s birthday. The two-time Dally M Medal winner will turn 31. A belated happy birthday goes to John Asiata who celebrated his 21st birthday on Saturday.

• With back-to-back away trips behind them, the Cowboys can now look forward to a run of three straight home matches, starting with the clash with Parramatta this Saturday (5.30pm). After the representative round bye, we’ll play the Brisbane Broncos on Friday 9 May and reigning premiers Sydney Roosters on Saturday 17 May. Tickets for all three matches are available from Ticketek.

• Injured Cowboy Lachlan Coote is on the road for Adopt-a-School this week. He’ll be visiting schools in Bowen on Wednesday and Ayr on Thursday.

• Our NYC squad had a small taste of royal fever on Friday. Their team hotel at Manly Beach was right across the road from where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge watched a surf lifesaving display during a leg of their three-week tour. Crowds started gathering nine hours before they arrived. Unfortunately for our boys who wanted to see what all the fuss was about, their team bus left the hotel 90 minutes before the royals made it to Manly and William and Kate were well and truly gone by the time they got back from Gosford.

• Our stats leaders in Friday night’s agonizing loss to Manly were: most metres – Jason Taumalolo (171 metres); most tackles – Gavin Cooper (34); most try assists – Johnathan Thurston (3); most offloads – Robert Lui (4); most tackle busts – Jason Taumalolo (7).

• This week’s Rugby League Week magazine is a must for Cowboys fans – our 2014 team poster will be inside. The magazine goes on sale on Thursday.

• Almost 50 kids from remote parts of North Queensland had the chance to catch up with the Cowboys’ Payne brothers Aaron and Dean Payne over Easter. They were at the Einasleigh sports camp, around 300km north-west of Townsville, to learn some rugby league skills, as well as try their hand at soccer, hockey and gymnastics, on Thursday and Good Friday.

• It’s Tariq Sims’s turn to pull off a trick shot for WIN News Locker Room this week. Tune in after 7pm on Wednesday.

• The NRL Auckland Nines trophy will be stopping off in Proserpine next week on the latest leg of its North Queensland tour. It will be on display at Filby’s Motors from Monday 28 April until Monday 5 May.

• There’ll be plenty of Cowboys NYC squad members and scholarship holders in action in the Mal Meninga Cup and Cyril Connell Cup at the TDJRL fields at Kern Brothers Drove on Sunday. The Townsville Stingers are involved in both matches – under-16s v Gold Coast (1.30pm) and under-18s v Wynnum-Manly (3pm).

• Did you know that our mascot Bluey is on Twitter? You can follow him @CowboysBluey.

Acknowledgement of Country

North Queensland Cowboys respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.