• Veteran North Queensland backrower Gavin Cooper will celebrate his 200th National Rugby League match when the Manly Sea Eagles host the Cowboys at Brookvale Oval to close out Round 19. Speaking about the looming milestone prior to the team heading south to prepare for the Sea Eagles, Cooper said the Cowboys “meant everything to him” and he was thrilled that he was able to return to the club in 2011 after spending his debut NRL season in the north in 2006. Cooper said he was close to coming back to Cowboys’ country earlier than in 2011 with a move imminent prior to his two-season stint with the Titans ended in 2008. But he eventually went to the Panthers for the 2009-2010 seasons before returning to Cowboys HQ in 2011. He said he would reflect fondly on the 200-game milestone when he eventually retires from the game. Cooper, 29, is contracted to the Cowboys until the end of the 2017 season. Cooper’s wife Tenille hails from Innisfail, a fact Murgon product Cooper says played a huge factor in him returning to NQ.
• Cooper's teammate Matt Scott also has a 200-game milestone looming, with the Cowboys co-captain currently on 197 NRL/Cowboys games. Scott is set to bring up his 200th game against the Raiders in Round 21 at 1300SMILES Stadium on Saturday, 1 August. The one-club veteran and Queensland State of Origin stalwart made his NRL/club debut in 2004 against Parramatta.
• As part of a big thank you to all the towns and cities within Cowboys’ country, the club is in the midst of holding a series of functions during its 20-year anniversary celebrations. Last Friday, it was Mackay’s turn with the club hosting a sportsman’s evening of sorts including Cowboys players past and present. Among those in attendance were former Cowboys Travis Norton, Brent Tate and Grant Rovelli. Current Cowboys and New South Wales Origin prop James Tamou – a Mackay Cutters ambassador – was also there as he serves a one-match suspension incurred during the third State of Origin match at Suncorp Stadium recently. Always affable and generous with his time, Tamou was a hit with the crowd as he shared with club football boss and function MC Peter Parr his thoughts on that Game III thumping by the Maroons, plus other insights into his career at the Cowboys. The evening was hailed a resounding success with those in attendance appreciative of a little bit of the Cowboys’ experience coming to the regional areas. A similar event is planned for Cairns on Friday.
• In the lead-in to the Cairns event on Friday, 24 July, club CEO Greg Tonner will complete a Cairns regional tour of towns and communities, meeting with members, supporters, sponsors and local leaders. Tonner is looking forward to meeting with State Hinchinbrook MP Andrew Cripps in Ingham on Wednesday, 22 July, followed by visits with Ingham-based members and Herbert River rugby league officials and the Express newspaper. Later that afternoon, Tonner will head to Tully for similar meetings, then on to Innisfail and a function with Cassowary Coast Mayor Bill Shannon. And overnight stay in Innisfail will be followed in that town by more visits, including one with Joyce Bolton, the aunt of current Cowboys player Scott Bolton and a valued platinum member since 2005. Visits in Atherton and Mareeba will follow before Tonner arriving in Cairns on the Thursday evening for an overnight ahead of a full day of appointments and the Friday night anniversary function.