Cowboys get a favourable draw for Nines defence
North Queensland has drawn one of the easier pools in its bid to defend the Auckland Nines title in February.
The Cowboys will play Newcastle, Penrith and the Wests Tigers in the pool named Rangitot.
Cowboys coach Paul Green said he would again approach the Nines in Auckland as an opportunity to give young players a taste of NRL football without the pressure that goes with it.
"I think the Nines is a good way to give our younger players some experience in a not-so-pressured environment and expose them to what it is like to play against NRL-quality players," Green (pictured) told APN.
Green said it would not be until after Christmas that he had an idea about who might make his Nines squad, but he doubted it would include Johnathan Thurston.
Brisbane Broncos have landed up in a hot pool against the Bulldogs, Manly and local favourites the Warriors.