While disappointed at last week’s heartbreaking four-point loss to the Broncos in a pulsating National Rugby League qualifying final, the Cowboys players and coaching staff have regrouped tremendously well. They hit the ground running upon landing back home, getting straight into recovery on the Monday, followed by a gym session on the Tuesday and a field session on the Wednesday.

Head coach Paul Green was pleased with the team’s efforts in a high-quality finals game, and there was a real sense in the playing group around Cowboys’ HQ this week that the team is playing good football at this crucial time of the year. Certainly in Monday’s recovery session, spirits were soaring as the club’s high performance unit ran the team through a modified game of soccer. Tuesday’s session, meanwhile, was eye-catching to witness as coaching staff motivated the team to give 110 per cent across a series of obstacle course-style activities.

One of the real challenges for the HPU is adding variety to sessions while still hitting targets, and judging by the mood at Cowboys camp this week, the staff is hitting the right chord on that front.

Saturday’s National Youth Competition qualifying final between the Cowboys and the Broncos came at a price for our boys despite the 36-24 win. The Cowboys were down to just one fit reserve at one stage after hooker Brandon Smith (concussion), prop Viliame Kikau (ankle) and interchange forward David Munro (knee) all left the field with injuries. Smith copped a nasty knock and was stretchered off the field while Kikau and Munro will continued to be monitored and treated ahead of their Week 3 finals match against either the Wests Tigers or the Sea Eagles.

The Cowboys NYC boys will be watching that match on Friday night with interest, the squad set to meet up and see who they’ll be playing.

The buzz around Cowboys HQ this week is palpable as staff and players prepare for the club’s biggest game of the year in Saturday’s elimination semi-final against the Cronulla Sharks at 1300SMILES Stadium. There are still plenty of great tickets available! Several of our staff has been engaging with the media to promote the game. That said, a trio of staffers took some convincing to agree to pose for a photo in their Cowboys shirts. They come around, though, eventually.

A big congratulations must go to Kirwan State High School for their success on Wednesday in winning the 2015 national GIO Cup schoolboys competition with an impressive 28-10 win over Patrician Bros. Blacktown. Kirwan have taken all before them in 2015, including wins in the Aaron Payne Cup and the state final of the GIO Cup. Wednesday’s win at Peppers Stadium marked just the sixth time in the competition’s 40-year history that a Queensland school has won the national final. Palm Beach Currumbin have won the competition twice (2011 and 2008), Keebra Park State High School twice (2009 and 2013) and Wavell SHS once (2002). Due to the states’ respective education systems, New South Wales have historically had older players, on average, in their teams.