Great news for Cowboys trio Johnathan Thurston, Michael Morgan and Justin O’Neill with all three selected in the Australian Kangaroos Test team to play the Kiwis in Canberra on Friday. JT is a walk-up start in any rep team, while Morgan retains his spot as the interchange utility after impressing in the role in last year’s Four Nations tournament. O’Neill was named as injury cover at 20th man but is in camp with the Roos this week.
In other rep news, barnstorming Cowboys forward Jason Taumalolo will represent his native New Zealand, while Antonio Winterstein (Samoa), John Asiata (Samoa), Patrick Kaufusi (Tonga) will represent their respective Pacific Island nations during next Saturday’s triple-header at Campbelltown Stadium. During a multicultural blockbusting afternoon, Papua New Guinea will play the Cook Islands, Tonga play Fiji and Samoa will go head-to-head with England.
Meanwhile, the strong form of the Cowboys’ Under-20s team has also been rewarded at the selection table in the naming of the Junior Roos and Junior Kiwis teams. With the young Cowboys flying high with six wins from eight games, the good form of many of the players in Aaron Payne’s team has been noticed. Young Kiwi forwards Kaleb Fuimaono and Emry Pere have been models of consistency for Payne and were picked in the side, while Cairns product and centre strike weapon Enari Tuala has earned a Junior Roos jumper. The trans-Tasman rivals face off in the first of three matches at GIO Stadium on Friday, ahead of the Jillaroos versus NZ and the trans-Tasman Test.
Off the field, the Cowboys will also be well represented. Club physio Steve Sartori and medico Dr Chris Ball have been part of the senior Roos set-up for a number of years and will continue in their roles, while Micheal Luck – the club’s HR Manager – and strength and conditioning coach Anthony Wood will link up with the Junior Roos, Luck as the Team Manager.
Closer to home, Brisbane’s Langlands Park will be the scene of the annual QLD Residents versus NSW Residents match. The Cowboys will be represented in the Queensland side by crafty halve Kyle Laybutt and experienced utility Blake Leary. Laybutt is a Bundaberg product while Leary hails from the Gold Coast.