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• Nine members of the first Toyota Cowboys team to make the NRL finals are confirmed guests for the annual Derby Dinner at the Townsville Entertainment and Convention Centre on Thursday week. It’s 10 years since North Queensland reached the finals for the first time, beating Canterbury and Brisbane on two memorable nights before being eliminated by the Roosters, and to commemorate the achievement there’ll be a special anniversary theme at the dinner. Joining the celebrations will be Matt Sing, Travis Norton, Luke O’Donnell, Ty Williams, Josh Hannay, Paul Rauhihi and David Myles, as well as current Cowboys high performance manager Paul Bowman and game development officer Aaron Payne. Ticket sales close today – individual tickets are $175 each and a table of 10 is $1,650. To book, call 1300 GO COWBOYS (1300 462 692 – option 2) or visit Cowboys HQ, Golf Links Drive, Kirwan.

• Barlow Park will be rugby league central in North Queensland on Saturday. Not only will the Northern Pride face the Mackay Cutters in the first Intrust Super Cup northern derby for 2014, there’ll also be the Mal Meninga Cup and Cyril Connell Cup finals on the schedule. The Townsville Stingers will feature in both under-age games – against Northern Pride in the under-16s and Norths from Brisbane in the under-18s. The Stingers’ Mal Meninga Cup team, which includes a number of Cowboys NYC squad members and scholarship holders, smashed Wynnum-Manly 64-6 in the semi-final at Kern Brothers Drive on Sunday.

• It’s representative bye week but that doesn’t mean the Cowboys NRL squad gets a week away from training. They were out on the training field this morning running through some plays to get ready for the local derby against the Brisbane Broncos on Friday week as well as completing some testing fitness drills. Next stop was the gym for weights before they could relax and enjoy some days off to freshen up. The players not involved in weekend matches will be back on the training park on Saturday.

• Cowboys CEO Peter Jourdain, general manager – football Peter Parr and coach Paul Green met up with NRL referees’ boss Tony Archer and operations manager Nathan McGuirk in Townsville on Sunday. Among the items on the agenda was a discussion on the controversial try awarded to Manly’s Kieran Foran in round seven, with Archer outlining how the incorrect decision came about. “It was good to have the chance to meet face to face with Nathan and Tony,” Mr Jourdain said. “It was a proactive move by the club to invite them to come here and we’re happy they were able to accept our invitation.”

• Cowboys Test prop James Tamou believes being branded a 'team of nobodies' will only inspire the Kiwi underdogs at Allianz Stadium on Friday night. “It just puts fuel on the fire for them,” Tamou told the media in Sydney. “They may have picked a side with debutants here and there, but the side they have picked, the players are actually in form at the moment and their best players going.”

• Micheal Luck had a new experience in his rugby league career on Saturday night when he was a last-minute fill-in on the Fox Sports NRL commentary team. Flight issues delayed the arrival of Fox’s two expert commentators Scott Prince and Gary Belcher, and Fox were very grateful Lucky was able to answer their SOS to help out play-by-play caller Matt Russell. It was the first time the former Cowboy had done any TV commentary work.

• The Cowboys award winners from Saturday night, presented at the Cowboys Leagues Club, were: NRL play of the day – Johnathan Thurston for his defensive efforts on Jarryd Hayne and Chris Sandow; NRL player of the match – Rory Kostjasyn, who had a team-high 35 tackles to go with 74 metres in eight runs; NYC player of the match – Josh Chudleigh (42 tackles, one line break).

• As well as the six players involved in rep football this weekend, the Cowboys have four staff members who have headed south for duties. Assistant coach David Furner, physiotherapist Steve Sartori and doctor Chris Ball are with the Kangaroos, and welfare manager Kevin Marty is the team manager for the Queensland Junior Origin squad.

• This week’s birthday boys are NYC squad members Aaron Solari, who celebrate his 19th birthday on Wednesday, and Chris Law who turns 19 on Thursday.

 Curtis Rona has already shown us that he can score tries in the NRL, picking up three in his first two starts, and now he will showcase his trickshot talents in this week’s WIN Locker Room. Find out what he produced in Wednesday night’s bulletin from 7pm.

• Congratulations to Christy McNeill, winner of our game day competition for Cowboys v Eels – Christy has won dinner for two at Aqua Restaurant at Jupiters Townsville. Look out for our game day comp again at the Broncos game next Friday night – enter at the information tent inside the northern gate between 5pm-7.30pm. Prize: a signed 2014 Cowboys home jersey.

• If you’re in Townsville and looking for a rugby league fix this weekend, the Townsville A-grade competition will celebrate Heritage Round with three matches at the Townsville Sports Reserve on Saturday – Norths v Charters Towers (4.30pm), Centrals v Burdekin (6pm), Brothers v University (7.30pm).

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.