Dreams of a future playing in the National Rugby League have taken a step in the right direction for 30 youngsters attending the annual Junior Cowboys Camp.

The 14- to 17-year-olds, all contracted juniors for the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys, have descended on Townsville for the four-day camp, aimed at giving them a taste of life as a professional rugby league player.

“We’ve got young lads from all over the country here but the majority of them come from the Cowboys’ traditional footprint,” said Cowboys NYC and Junior Academy coach Aaron Payne.

“This December camp is basically a sneak peek into what it would be like should these boys make it into an NRL squad.

“The whole week is set up with football coaching sessions, weights sessions, talks on things like nutrition, welfare, the media … basically all facets of playing professional footy.”

Cowboys coaching staff including head coach Paul Green and assistant coaches Todd Payten and David Fairleigh were involved in the camp, which utilised Cowboys HQ facilities and included the boys warming up with the Cowboys NRL squad during training at the Townsville Sports Reserve.