North Queensland Toyota Cowboys head coach Paul Green has named his first two playing squads for 2016 with the NRL Auckland Nines and Bundaberg trial teams named today.
NRL AUCKLAND NINES, 6-7 February, Eden Park, Auckland
The 18-man Nines squad – which leaves for Auckland on Wednesday – will again be captained by veteran backrower Gavin Cooper and includes 13 players from the Cowboys’ 2015 NRL Telstra Premiership-winning team.
Also included in the Nines team is National Youth Competition single-season try-scoring record-holder Gideon Gela-Mosby – who scored 39 four-pointers in the Cowboys’ 2015 under-20s campaign – and his NYC teammate Coen Hess, who will line up for his second Nines tournament.
Sure-fire Nines drawcard Matthew Bowen will make his long-awaited playing return to the club where he carved out a 13-year career as one of the game’s most exciting attacking players.
Bowen, 33, has returned to work at the Cowboys in a community role after two years in England where he helped Wigan to consecutive Super League grand finals.
Green has welcomed the 270-gamer into the Nines squad for a final playing farewell.
The Cowboys’ Nines team is playing in the Rangitoto Pool against the Knights, West Tigers and the Panthers.
Games times at Eden Park (New Zealand time):
• v Knights, Saturday 6 February, 1.20pm
• v Wests Tigers, Saturday 6 February, 5.40pm
• v Panthers, Sunday 7 February, 11.50am
2016 NRL Auckland Nines squad: 1. Matthew Bowen, 2. Kyle Feldt, 3. Justin O’Neill, 4. Kane Linnett, 5. Antonio Winterstein, 6. Lachlan Coote, 7. Ray Thompson, 8. John Asiata, 9. Jake Granville, 10. James Tamou, 11. Gavin Cooper (c), 12. Ethan Lowe, 13. Jason Taumalolo, 14. Michael Morgan, 15. Rory Kostjasyn, 16. Coen Hess, 17. Matthew Wright, 18. Gideon Gela-Mosby. Coach: Paul Green.
TRIAL GAME v BRONCOS, Saturday 6 February, Salter Oval, Bundaberg
The 19-man team for Saturday’s trial match against the Brisbane Broncos features a mix of established Cowboys NRL squad members, new recruits, under-20s talent and Intrust Super Cup players.
Appearing for their new club for the first time will be former Gold Coast Titans under-20s teammates Shaun Hudson and Jahrome Hughes, former under-20s players Kyle Laybutt and Braden Uele, and extended training squad members Patrick Mago and Sheldon Powe-Hobbs.
Bundaberg trial team (v Broncos): Jahrome Hughes, Linc Port, Mosese Pangai, Shaun Hudson, Jack Creith, Kyle Laybutt, Cooper Bambling, Ben Hannant, Josh Chudleigh, Scott Bolton, Rhyse Martin, Patrick Mago, Ben Spina, Sam Hoare, Braden Uele, Sheldon Powe-Hobbs, Brandon Smith, Patrick Kaufusi, Ty Carucci. Coach: Todd Payten.