Cowboys INSIDER

• It was break-up day at Cowboys HQ today with the NRL squad, apart from those players still involved with the Northern Pride, having their final reviews with the coaching staff and their end-of-season medicals. Their next official duty will be the Cowboys’ presentation ball on Friday night, 10 October, with the start of pre-season training set down for 12 November. Our Four Nations representative players, however, will be given extra time off because the final in Wellington isn’t until Saturday 15 November.

• Voting in this season’s Players’ Player of the Year award was very close. We’re told the winner wasn’t decided until the votes were cast following last Friday night’s defeat against the Roosters. All will be revealed at the presentation night.

• North Queensland hooker Ray Thompson has elected to bypass the PNG Kumuls’ annual clash with the Australian Prime Minister’s XIII next month. The World Cup representative wants his body to have its best chance of being fresh and ready to go for the start of pre-season.

• Joel Riethmuller became a first-time dad late last week. Along with his partner Jen, Joel welcomed a baby girl, Harlia Mylee, into the world. Harlia originally wasn’t expected to arrive until next month.

• Michael Morgan’s selection in the Kangaroos’ train-on squad has put his holiday plans on hold for a while. He had a booking to head off to Bali with some mates next Tuesday.

• Congratulations to Ben Spina who reaches 100 Intrust Super Cup matches for the Northern Pride in this weekend’s grand final. He’ll have a key role in the Cairns team’s forward pack as they try to complete the minor premiership/ premiership double. Bookmakers bet365.com have the Pride as $1.72 favourites to win the grand final with Easts at $2.10.

• Recently retired Cowboy Brent Tate will be on commentary duties for Channel Nine at the Intrust Super Cup grand final. Maybe it’s a sign of what’s to come in Tatey’s future.

• Ashton Sims made his farewell appearance on the Hot FM breakfast show in Townsville on Wednesday morning. The big front-rower has been a weekly regular in each of the four seasons he's been with the Cowboys.

• The Pride players won’t be the only 2015 Cowboys in action this weekend. New signing Kelepi Tanginoa will line up for Parramatta in their NYC grand final qualifier against NZ Warriors on Saturday. The young forward was outstanding in their last-start win against Brisbane at 1300SMILES Stadium, running for a game-high 246 metres with two linebreaks and eight tackle busts.

• Our stats leaders from the agonising loss to the Roosters were: most metres – Jason Taumalolo (228m); most tackles – Ashton Sims (37); most tackle breaks – Matthew Scott (7); most linebreaks – Johnathan Thurston (2); most offloads – Michael Morgan (3).

• A couple of Cowboy beards have disappeared since last week’s finals loss. Kane Linnett has removed his facial growth completely, while Kyle Feldt has trimmed his back to a goatee.

• Scott Bolton and Michael Morgan were North Queensland’s two ironmen of season 2014. They both played in all 25 NRL matches and Morgo would have played in every minute of every game had he not had to come off with concussion in the elimination final victory against the Broncos.