• Always humble about his achievements in rugby league, Cowboys co-captain Johnathan Thurston has played down his chances of being the first player to win four Dally M medals. JT joined Andrew Johns as a three-time winner when he shared the 2014 best player honour with Jarryd Hayne. “Look, to win one is such a huge honour and here I am beside an Immortal (Johns)," JT said. “I'm so happy and I've got my teammates to thank for that. I've only got three years left so I don't think there's (time for) another one.”
• JT completed the media rounds with his usual aplomb on Tuesday morning, including live crosses to Today on Channel Nine and Sunrise on Channel Seven. He impressed the Today hosts by starting his interview with massive smile as he recited the show’s slogan “I wake up with Today”. “I’ve always wanted to say that,” JT said. After a very entertaining four-minute chat, host Ben Fordham described our champion as “one of the great ambassadors of rugby league”.
• Jarryd Hayne sent out this message to his fans on Instagram and Twitter before going to bed on Monday night: “Honoured to share this award with jthurston06 consider myself very lucky to keep up with him”.
• We all know JT finished as the top vote-getter for the Cowboys in the Dally M Medal this year, but who was next best? Matt Scott takes the runner-up honour with 18 points ahead of Michael Morgan (10), Jason Taumalolo (nine) and Robert Lui (six).
• JT will appear on Fox Sports’ grand final day coverage on Sunday, as well as being a guest on NRL360 tomorrow night.
• Retiring Cowboys Brent Tate and Ashton Sims will be part of the retiring players’ lap of honour at NRL grand final day on Sunday. At last report, “Thor” was relaxing on a beach at Ulladulla on the NSW south coast.
• Quiz time: Who was the Cowboys’ most penalised player in the NRL in 2014? Answer at the bottom of the column.
• Antonio Winterstein and Tautau Moga are in line for call-ups to the Samoan squad for the upcoming Four Nations tournament against Australia, New Zealand and England. Antonio represented Samoa at last year’s Rugby League World Cup but Tautau has yet to make his international debut.
• This week’s birthday boy is front-rower Ricky Thorby who turns 29 on Thursday. Best of luck to Ricky and all of our other Pride representatives when they line up against Penrith Panthers in the inaugural national championship final on NRL grand final day.
• Two-time premiership winner Ben Spina told the Cairns Post that the Pride’s Intrust Super Cup victory in 2010 felt very different to the 2014 success. “Back then we came from the back from the bottom,” he said. “That was more of a resurrection. This year we have been on top and it was a just reward for consistency.”
• Bookmakers bet365.com have opened a market on next year’s NRL Auckland Nines. The Cowboys, who will be defending their title, are equal second favourites at $8 behind the NZ Warriors ($5). Manly and Canterbury are the outsiders at $26.
Quiz answer: Tariq Sims (19 penalties conceded, one more than his brother Ashton)