A helping hand to young hopefuls

Talented kids from the country and young players aspiring to land a spot in the top squad have been at the heart of fundraising efforts by the Cowboys Supporters Team over two decades.

The volunteer group has indirectly supported homegrown Cowboys Elite Pathways Program products like Jake Clifford, Rueben Cotter and Mitch Dunn who made their NRL debuts between 2018 and 2019.

Countless other players have been aided by their fundraising efforts, with a sum of $750,000 donated to boost opportunities for future Cowboys over the years.

Their recent $50,000 donation was presented to fresh-faced Cowboys Development players and NRL hopefuls Wiremu Greig, Garrett Smith and Ben Condon, with 2020 squad member Emry Pere lending a hand.

Emry Pere, Ben Condon and Wiremu Greig at preseason training
Emry Pere, Ben Condon and Wiremu Greig at preseason training

President Don Cameron was there to hand over the cheque to the young players, 24 years after he helped form the Cowboys Supporters Team.

“A group of people got together to try and establish a supporter’s fan base. In our second year we started selling doubles with our aim to raise money to subsidise our members to attend Cowboys away games as a group,” Don said.

Their official fundraising journey started a few years into the competition.

“We realised that we needed to do our bit to ensure our North Queensland youth had every opportunity to be future Cowboys. This became our purpose as a team.”

Since then, fundraising efforts have taken the shape of game day doubles, Thursday ‘Supporter’s Night’ at the Cowboys Leagues Club and various barbeques at club events during the season.

Don [far right] and the Cowboys Supporters Team manned the barbecue at this year's Members Carnival
Don [far right] and the Cowboys Supporters Team manned the barbecue at this year's Members Carnival

“In the beginning donations went to help young, school aged players from around the country to attend training and development camps.

“After a number of years, we shifted focus to help fund the Elite Pathways program aimed at an older age group. This is still the focus of our fundraising to date.”

“While our fundraising goals may have changed from day one, as a team we are fully committed to ensure we are helping grow the Cowboys of the future from our northern catchment.

“We are and always will be the Cowboys Supporters Team.” 

[Pictured from left] Ben Condon, Garrett Smith, Wiremu Greig and Emry Pere received the donation from Don Cameron [centre] and the supporters team at a special presentation
[Pictured from left] Ben Condon, Garrett Smith, Wiremu Greig and Emry Pere received the donation from Don Cameron [centre] and the supporters team at a special presentation