Around 200 young footballers from the Cairns region got up close and personal with the 2015 Toyota Cowboys on day one of their pre-season camp on Thursday.

A 45-minute skills clinic, with help from the Cowboys, NRL and Northern Pride development staff, followed by a signing session, was a great way for the kids to spend their afternoon and once again it was three-time Dally M Medal winner Johnathan Thurston who was the star attraction.

No one who wanted an autograph from JT missed out, with the co-captain and his teammates signing everything from boots to hats, fan cards and posters.

“It was definitely a good turnout. It always makes you happy to see the kids running around and especially so many of them with Cowboys gear on,” JT said.

“From what I saw, everyone had a good time and hopefully they’ve learnt something extra about the game as well.”

There was also the chance for the NQ Toyota Dealers Cowboys Academy squad based in Cairns to go through some drills with key members of the first grade squad, including Matt Scott, Gavin Cooper, Michael Morgan and Glenn Hall.

The good news for those who turned out, and those who were unable to make it to the Cairns JRL grounds in Mann Street, is that the Cowboys will be back in a few months for their final pre-season trial against the Gold Coast Titans at Barlow Park on 21 February.

The Cowboys have now “gone bush” for the rest of their camp, not returning home to Townsville until Monday.