BRISBANE boy Patrick Mago – who made his debut against the Panthers last weekend and also lined up against the Sharks – revealed to the media this week how more professionalism has helped his game. He paid special credit to Cowboys teammate and roomie Sam Hoare for helping him with his diet, saying the giant prop does all the cooking at home to ensure big Pat gets the right nutrition in the right amounts. While all have applauded Mago’s ascent to the NRL ranks, fellow big bopper Jason Taumalolo couldn’t resist taking a shot at his good mate Mago, saying that the two-time Junior Kangaroo was carrying some “excess baggage” around his midriff when he arrived at the club at the start of the 2016 season.
TAUMALOLO was in a playful mood this week, telling a journo that Scott Bolton’s recent appearances for the Cowboys while being quite unwell were akin to Michael Jordan’s famous “flu game”, where in 1997, the basketball legend led his Chicago Bulls to a famous playoffs victory over the Utah Jazz while perilously ill. He also told the reporter that Cowboys fullback Lachlan Coote runs sideways just to get his metres per game up … everyone’s fair game when the Cowboys’ wrecking ball is feeling playful.
REHAB coordinator Ash Graham is fast becoming the hardest-working staff member at Cowboys HQ as his squad of recovering athletes swells each week. This week he had a six-strong return-to-running group, including Gavin Cooper (calf) and Antonio Winterstein (hamstring). The pair did some straight-line stuff and hope to be back in the coming weeks. On the patch of grass next to them were the unlikely quartet of Matt Scott (knee), Shaun Hudson (knee), Ben Spina (bicep) and Ray Thompson (knee). Graham put the four through a gruelling conditioning session, with Insider filming a little segment for our social media platforms. The clip was well received, with one teammate-turned-wannabe-comedian sledging Hudson for purposely speeding up when he knew the camera was on him. Judge for yourself!
CONGRATULATIONS to Cowboys utility Ray Thompson, who announced this week that he and wife Sabrina are expecting their second child. Bub No.2 is due early next year and will be a little brother or sister for Ivy-Rae. Thompson – who is nursing a chronic knee complaint – hasn’t played for two months, the 27-year-old last suiting up in Round 15 against the Storm in Melbourne. Thompson last week announced his retirement at the end of the season, the 27-year-old set to take up a role with the club’s community team.
EXPECT some good news next week regarding the Cowboys-Papau New Guinea relationship. The Cowboys have been very active in the country – club legends Matt Scott and Brent Tate visited recently – and with direct flights from Port Moresby and Townsville kicking off recently, the close ties between the two centres will only strengthen. Watch this space.
THEY may not have had their special day turn out exactly as planned after the Panthers defeated the Cowboys at Pepper Stadium last Saturday, but any time is a good time for cake, as birthday boys Sam Hoare and Steve “Chicken” Sartori discovered post-match at the team hotel. Interchange forward Hoare turned 26 on game day, while team physio Chicken chalked up another year, but we won’t divulge where he’s at currently. Hoare’s teammate Coen Hess turned 21 two days later, as did fellow first-grade squad member Marcus Jensen. Many happy returns lads.
BIRTHDAY boy Gavin Cooper turned 32 on game day and was stoked to receive his Cowboys Leagues Club birthday card in the mail this week. Cooper is an ambassador for the Leagues Club and was well impressed with his letter to himself and featured photo. Happy birthday, Coops.
VOTING for the prestigious Provan Summons Medal – the People’s Choice Award for the best NRL player in the season – is now open. The list of previous winners includes our very own Johnathan Thurston (2014, 2015), with the 2017 edition to be presented at the Dally M awards in grand final week. Head to provansummons.nrl.com to get your Cowboys vote in.