While the 2018 #NRL Pre-Season is still a few weeks away, there's a bunch of warm-up clashes happeni...
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North Queensland arrives in Auckland later today (Wednesday) with a strong 25-man squad - headlined by captain Johnathan Thurston - for its NRL trial against the Vodafone Warriors at North Harbour Stadium on Sunday.
Brilliant fullback Matt Bowen and tough back rower Steve Southern are both travelling after having major off-season surgery.
However, coach Neil Henry says both players will be training only while in Auckland.
Also included in the touring party is 2008 Vodafone Junior Warrior Steve Rapira along with other off-season signings Shannon Hegarty (South Sydney), Willie Tonga (Bulldogs), Clint Amos (Gold Coast), Antonio Kaufusi (Melbourne) and Manase Manuokafoa (South Sydney) plus 20-year-old New Zealander James Tamou who has moved the Sydney Roosters. He played for New Zealand Maori against the All Golds and the Australian Indigenous team last year.
The Cowboys are using the trip as a chance to have their NRL squad in camp, based at the Millennium Institute of Sport on Auckland's North Shore.
The full squad is: Ben Farrar, John Williams, Shannon Hegarty, Donald Malone, Ty Williams, Ashley Graham, Willie Tonga, Johnathan Thurston, Travis Burns, Grant Rovelli, Aaron Payne, Clint Amos, Carl Webb, Antonio Kaufusi, Matt Scott, Scott Bolton, Shane Tronc, Luke O