Team discussion.

Cowboys head coach Paul Green showed his altruistic side in Auckland last weekend following the team’s dinner at their Auckland hotel. Green and a few of his Cowboys colleagues went out for desert after the tea meal, with freshly-baked cookies the treat of choice. Walking past a couple of Auckland-ites, Green generously shared some of his cookies, much to the appreciation of the recipients.

Cookies were a recurring theme in New Zealand with a famous bakery being visited by more than one player during the three-day stay. Most who ventured to the store bought a large tin of 12 cookies, all properly sealed to get back through customs, of course.

Speaking of customs, who was the player who inadvertently wandered through the airport checks upon arrival in New Zealand with a piece of fruit in his bag? Forgetting to declare the healthy snack at the appropriate point, the slightly embarrassed player promptly disposed of it at the earliest opportunity.

A large crowd turned out to watch Kirwan State High School run out convincing 42-14 winners over the ACT’s Erindale College in their GIO Schoolboys Cup semi-final this week. Kirwan had hundreds of their students let off classes for a couple of hours to cheer on their team. What was more intriguing was the number of seemingly working folk at the match, taking either a very long lunch or advantage of their employers’ generosity.

Another person at the game – in fact playing at the game – was Nathan Chudleigh, younger brother of Cowboys-contracted hooker Josh. Nathan was playing on the left wing for Erindale. Josh told Insider that Nathan doesn’t usually play schoolboys footy, but was asked to play given a swag of injuries to regular players. Josh said wing wasn’t usually Nathan’s position, but he filled in when required. Apparently Nathan spends a lot of his spare time wakeboarding when he’s not training and playing footy.

Several of the kids in the Kirwan team are part of the Cowboys system, with four-five players set to come into the National Youth competition tea next year. A further five lads are part of the club’s Elite Pathways Program.

Cowboys General manager – Football Peter Parr told a leading rugby league magazine this week that the club’s recent success in the NYC – the team is leading the competition with two rounds left – can be in-part attributed to more resources being assigned to development. ‘We’ve worked really hard on our (elite) pathways program in the past couple of years,” Parr told Big League, revealing the club’s board had recently agreed to commit more funding to the program. Three former Cowboys players head up the program: Micheal Luck, Ash Graham and Aaron Payne. Former pathways participant Coen Hess made his national Rugby League debut against the Warriors last week.

Yesterday’s flight to Melbourne ahead of the Round 25 game against the Storm was slightly different to the usual commute. The team chartered a plane to get to the Victorian capital directly rather than go via Brisbane, as is usually the case. The players were thankful of the less amount of time spent travelling, while the pilot allowed people into the cockpit.