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• Three former Cowboys dropped in to see the 2014 squad at their team hotel in Newcastle on Sunday night. Tim Brasher, Brett Hetherington and Tim Maddison all live in the region and had dinner with the players as well as sharing a few stories on their time with North Queensland. Still looking as fit at 43 as when he was a player, Brasher played 19 NRL games for the Cowboys between 2000 and 2002. Hetherington totalled 23 matches before retiring in 2001, while Maddison played two seasons with NQ (2000-01) and played 27 games.

Brent Tate is still weighing up whether he wishes to continue his NRL career after undergoing a fourth knee reconstruction next week. Tatey is chatting with family, friends and medical experts and will take his time before deciding whether to play on in 2015. Federal Member for Herbert Ewen Jones, who is a keen Cowboys supporter, spoke about the Origin winger in Federal Parliament last week, describing him as “a truly magnificent person, not only on the field, but off the field as well”.

• There was a Sims family reunion on and off the field in Newcastle on Monday night. The youngest Sims brother, Korbin, squared the 2014 ledger with older brothers Tariq and Ashton thanks to the Knights’ eight-point win. Later on, they met up for a chat in a much more relaxed setting with their mum at the Cowboys’ hotel.

• It’s a limited week of preparation for the NRL squad this week leading into Saturday night’s clash with South Sydney. They had their recovery and review sessions in Newcastle on Tuesday before heading back to Townsville to arrive later in the evening. The team will have a light field session on Thursday followed by their main ballwork session of the week on Friday.

• The stats leaders from Monday night’s loss to Newcastle were: most metres – James Tamou (158m); most tackles – Tariq Sims (39); most tackle breaks – Michael Morgan (5); most offloads – Kane Linnett (4); most try assists – Michael Morgan (2); most linebreaks – Robert Lui (2).

• To bring Cowboys members and fans even closer to their team, coach Paul Green agreed to wear a Fox Sports microphone before, during and after the Newcastle match, as well as allowing a “cue ball” camera into the coaches’ box. You can see the results during the Sterlo program on Fox Sports 1 on Thursday night.

Johnathan Thurston will move into third place on the list for most NRL games for the Cowboys when he plays his 204th match for the club on Saturday night. He’ll move one ahead of Paul Bowman and will be only 15 behind Aaron Payne in second.

Robert Lui will be in the Hot FM Townsville studios with Ashton Sims on Thursday morning. You can hear them on the breakfast show after 7.30am.

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

Laurie Spina plans to keep up his tradition of meeting every team contesting the annual Laurie Spina Shield this week. It’s a big job with 64 teams in the draw and only a couple of days for Laurie to catch up with them all. The almost 1,000 young footballers will also get the chance to meet the Cowboys’ NRL squad at a special “teams only” signing session.

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.