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• Cowboys and NSW front-rower James Tamou is expecting Queensland to hit back strongly in State of Origin game two in Sydney on Wednesday night. Tamou will come off the bench for the Blues who can win their first series in nine years by repeating their game one victory from Brisbane three weeks ago. “We're expecting that they'll be better. History has shown they'll come back strong so we're expecting that,” Tamou said. “Our mindset is just to go up a gear as well. We did video when we first got in together and there was so much improvement that we could see so we're working on that.”

• Tamou’s Cowboys and Kangaroos teammate Matt Scott says he's wary of the impact the Blues’ new bench prop may have in game two. "I am surprised he is not starting because he is a good guy to have out there in those opening exchanges," Scott said. "In saying that, the thought of him being used as an impact player with his size, speed and footwork, it's pretty scary."

• The Cowboys have signed Burleigh Bears back-rower Kyle McConnell on a two-year contract. A junior with the Southport Tigers, McConnell played in the NYC for the Gold Coast Titans in 2013 and made his Intrust Super Cup debut off the bench for the Bears in round one this season. He will join North Queensland at the start of the 2015 pre-season.

• Rory Kostjasyn headed for the kitchen for his latest Cowboys Adopt-a-School visit to Calvary College in Townsville. Although the task at hand with Class 5.2 was to assist in decorating cupcakes, the Q&A from the students beforehand was all about healthy eating and choosing the right foods to make you fit and strong. The students asked about Rory’s favourite foods, the proteins he prefers to eat, what he likes for breakfast and whether he gets hungry after a big game. Once all of the questions had been answered, Rory and the students tried their hand at making icing and decorating cupcakes in their favourite Cowboys colours.

• Kirwan State High School are this year’s winners of the Aaron Payne Cup. The Townsville school was awarded the trophy on forfeit by the cup holders, St Brendan’s College Yeppoon.

• Congratulations to our NYC strength and conditioning coach Ash Graham and his wife Jane who welcomed their first child, Annabel, into the world earlier in the month.

• Kyle Feldt again showed off his drop-kicking prowess during Sunday’s Intrust Super Cup match between the Northern Pride and Easts at Langlands Park in Brisbane. One of Feldty’s dropouts in the first half travelled a massive 67 metres in the air before bouncing and rolling to the Tigers’ 10 metre line. That’s a 90-metre kick all up – and there wasn’t much breeze at the time.

• Ignatius Park College are this year’s Cowboys Under-15s Challenge champions after beating Kirwan High School 16-10 in the final played last week. Eni Shibasaki was named player of the match.

• Happy birthday to NYC forward Halvor Harris who will celebrate turning 20 on Wednesday.

• Our injured Cowboys will hit the road for some Adopt-a-School visits next week. On Monday 23 June, Gavin Cooper will be in Ayr while Cameron King will visit schools in the Bowen district. Lachlan Coote will head over to Palm Island on 24 June and Patrick Kaufusi will go west to see students in Charters Towers on 26 June.

• Antonio Winterstein will be in the Hot FM Townsville studios with Ashton Sims on Friday morning. You can hear them on the Cliffo and Tianna breakfast show after 7am.

• See what trick shot John Asiata has to offer on the WIN News Locker Room in Wednesday night’s bulletin. It will be on air around 7.15pm.

• The Cowboys Leagues Club is giving away special State of Origin hampers during all three matches in the 2014 series. This Wednesday night, members and guests will be able to watch the action on their choice of three big screens and drinks will be at 'happy hour' prices for the duration of each game.

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.