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The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys were given a heroes’ reception at Auckland’s Aotea Square this morning for a packed meet and greet ahead of this weekend’s Downer NRL Auckland Nines tournament.

The 18-man Cowboys Nines squad, captained by back-rower Gavin Cooper, spent an hour mingling with fans, signing autographs and posing for photos during the fun-filled morning of activities.

The Cowboys trained on Thursday afternoon, their only New Zealand-based Nines training run before the competition starts on Saturday.

North Queensland play their first match against the Knights at 10.20am (Qld), followed by Wests Tigers at 2.40pm (Qld) and the Panthers at 8.50am (Qld) on Sunday.