• Always humble when receiving individual honours, Johnathan Thurston was again quick to thank those around him after winning a third Paul Bowman Medal on Friday night. “I can’t thank my teammates enough for what they’ve given me this year,” JT said. “They work just as hard as I do to prepare the best that they can. We also have a great coaching staff and high performance unit that get us in the best shape that they can. The boys process all of the information well and we’ve had a successful year, but sitting back and watching the grand final, and the rest of the finals series, hurt. I know it hurt for the rest of the boys as well. The burning desire (to win a premiership) is not for myself but for everyone involved in the club.”
• The Kangaroos’ all-time leading point-scorer says he’s determined to win back his Test jersey next year, adding that the players who have gained selection for the Four Nations tournament “deserve their spots”. “It’s an opportunity for them to press their claims and be in Tim Sheens’s future,” JT said. “I’m out of this campaign so all I can do is prepare the best that I’m able to to get that jersey back. No one has a permanent hold of that jersey. I plan on getting it back just like the other boys who aren’t playing in this squad due to injury will try to do.”
• The top eight in the Paul Bowman Medal count: Johnathan Thurston 35, Matt Scott 33, Michael Morgan 22, Jason Taumalolo 11, Tariq Sims 8, Robert Lui 8, James Tamou 7, Gavin Cooper 7. Fifteen players picked up votes during the season.
• If there was a medal for the Cowboys’ player of the finals series, it would also have gone to JT. He gained five votes from the coaching panel, ahead of Matt Scott (3), Gavin Cooper (3) and Jason Taumalolo (1).
• The Cowboys officially farewelled three members of the 2014 coaching staff at Friday night’s presentation ball at Jupiters Townsville. NYC coach Todd Wilson has returned to teaching after three years in charge of the under-20s, NRL assistant coach Terry Matterson has switched to the Gold Coast Titans and NRL assistant coach Adrian Thomson has moved next door as football operations manager at the Townsville Blackhawks. Announcements on who their replacements are expected over the next fortnight.
• Our Samoan representatives Antonio Winterstein and Tautau Moga have joined the rest of their teammates in the Pacific Island nation for a pre-Four Nations camp this week. As well as training, they’ve been visiting local schools and community groups. They’ll arrive back in Australia on Saturday ahead of their opening match against England a week later in Brisbane.
• Kiwi representative Jason Taumalolo has been a regular visitor to the Cowboys’ gym to stay in shape ahead of his Four Nations campaign. “Just finetuning,” he said with a grin when he was spotted on Tuesday. Taumalolo will go into camp with the New Zealanders on the Gold Coast on Saturday. The Kangaroos’ camp will be in Brisbane.
• Even though his teammates, apart from our three Four Nations representatives are now on holidays, the hard work doesn’t stop for hooker Cameron King, who is continuing rehab following his ACL tear in May. He's right on target to be ready for the start of pre-season training in a month.
• There was a sad moment in the Cowboys’ locker room on Monday when Brent Tate cleaned out his locker for the last time after a 15-year NRL career. However, he’ll be back at Cowboys HQ in an off-field capacity after a holiday with his family.
• NYC halfback Delayne Ashby has been chosen in the NZ Maori squad for their games against the Queensland Maori at Southport on the Gold Coast on Wednesday and Queensland Murri at Wynnum-Manly on Saturday. NRL forwards Kenny Bromwich (Melbourne Storm), Kenny Edwards (Parramatta Eels) and Bodene Thompson (Wests Tigers) are also in the 18-man squad.
• The 2015 premiership betting with bet365.com has the Cowboys as sixth favourites for the title at $11 behind South Sydney ($5), Roosters ($7), Brisbane ($7.50), Canterbury ($8.50) and Penrith ($10). Canberra are the outsiders at $81.
• The Townsville Blackhawks will reveal their first batch of signings for their first Intrust Super Cup season on Thursday.
This is our last Insider until the 2015 pre-season gets underway. Enjoy the Four Nations!