Cowboys INSIDER

• Not even the Insider has been able to uncover much of what happened when our NRL squad went into camp in Cairns on Thursday evening. The boys have taken a vow of silence on what went on but we do know they had very little sleep and were under the control of a group of police from the Special Emergency Response Team (SERT), who gave up their time to join the Cowboys in the jungle. Thanks to those officers for helping us out. “We won’t even be telling our family and our friends what we did,” Cowboys general manager – football Peter Parr told the Cairns Post. “We went to a variety of places and did a variety of things and were very well looked after.” We’re happy to report that our squad returned to Cowboys HQ fit and well – but looking a bit scruffy – on Monday afternoon.

• The Cowboys didn’t take the easy way out and take the short plane ride from Townsville to Cairns and back. Instead, they jumped on a bus for what was a nine-hour round trip. On the way home, a couple of businesses in Cardwell got a nice surprise when the bus pulled up outside and 30-plus hungry footballers jumped out.

• While the NRL squad were somewhere north of Cairns, the NYC squad headed west of Lavarack Barracks for their overnight camp. Led by soldiers from 1RAR, the under-20s were put through a number of very testing physical and mental challenges. It all started at 5am on Friday when the army staged a surprise mock raid on Cowboys HQ and captured the entire NYC squad. They didn’t return until 6pm Saturday.

• Tickets for the Cowboys’ pre-season trial against the Brisbane Broncos in Mackay on 7 February have already proved to be very popular. They went on sale on Monday and almost 2,000 tickets were sold in the first two hours. Remember, you can receive a general admission ticket, plus become a 2015 Cowboys member with all the benefits, for just $49 by becoming a Mackay Star member.

• Johnathan Thurston was a finalist in the Queensland Sports Star of the Year Awards on Monday night. However, he missed out on the top individual award in the state which was won by Gold Coast-based Olympic sailor Mat Belcher. Northern Pride were finalists in the Team of the Year Category but lost out to A-League champions Brisbane Roar.

• Among our latest batch of members to sign up for 2015 is Queensland Bulls paceman Luke Feldman, who was very happy to receive his members’ pack at the weekend. Based in Brisbane, Luke is one of our Distant Star members.

• There was a completely different group of footballers in the Cowboys HQ gym and on the training field on Monday afternoon. The Richmond Tigers’ AFL team are enjoying a week-long camp in Townsville, sweating it out in conditions much different to what they experience in Melbourne. They’ll be back for another two-hour session on Wednesday afternoon.

• Although he was in camp, Cowboys coach Paul Green was still able to part of the annual NRL coaches conference on Monday. He joined in via a phone hook-up as the 16 coaches reviewed the 2014 season and looked at ways to improve the competition in 2015.

• NYC squad member Gideon Mosby’s tour of the UK and France with the Australian Schoolboys started with a huge victory last week. The Aussies beat England Combined Regional Academies 86-6 in Whitehaven. The speedy NQ fullback/winger scored one try and had a big hand in two others. Mosby was rested from the second game of the tour, a 36-18 win against the Wigan Warriors Academy.

• Former Cowboy Steve Rapira has returned to North Queensland to play for the Mackay Cutters in the Intrust Super Cup in 2015. Rapira played 26 games for the Cowboys in 2009-10 before spending three seasons with the NZ Warriors and one with the Salford City Reds in Super League. The second major signing for the Cutters is current Samoan test hooker and 2013 NZ Warriors NYC player of the year Michael Sio.

• Congratulations to Michael Johnson, winner of our Cowboys getaway weekend prize from last week's clinic in Cairns – Michael signed up as a member on the day to go into the draw.