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A group of North Queensland Cowboys players returned to work this week, including a handful of new recruits, train-and-triallists and National Youth Competition graduates.

With official pre-season training not beginning until Monday 30 November, Cowboys’ coaching staff rolled out a hot and humid welcome mat to players not involved in the 2015 finals series, plus the new faces.

The Monday 23 November session involved a conditioning and skills session at the Townsville Sports Reserve followed by a strength session at the Cowboys HQ gym.

“This first week, we’ve got a lot of the new guys, (and) younger guys that have graduated from the NYC squad, returning a little bit earlier than our NRL squad,” said Cowboys head strength and conditioning coach Andrew Croll.

“So (this session) is basically an opportunity to do a little bit of testing, have a look at the standards our guys are at for the week ahead.”

Croll said this week would be an opportunity introduce the new faces to the program, as well as conducting preliminary conditioning testing and skills assessments.

Among those taking park in this week’s sessions are former Townsville Blackhawks players Jahrome Hughes – who earned an NRL contract with the Cowboys after impressing in the Intrust Super Cup this year – and former Gold Coast Titans NYC players of the Year Shaun Hudson.

Joining them is Cowboys NYC graduates Braden Uele, Kyle Laybutt and Kayln Ponga, with Ponga still eligible to play in the under-20s competition. Northern Pride prop Sheldon Powe-Hobbs is taking part as a train-and-triallist.

Returning NRL squad members include Sam Hoare, Matthew Wright, Josh Chudleigh, Tautau Moga and Ben Spina.

Acknowledgement of Country

North Queensland Cowboys respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.