It seems rugby league isn’t the only code for the North Queensland Cowboys. The club teamed up with Telstra to run a special ‘Cowboys Code Club’ for Indigenous students at NRL Cowboys House.


To teach the teens new skills in computer programming and digital technologies. Their surprise teacher was Cowboys’ hooker and former Indigenous All Stars representative Ray Thompson. Ray shares his top five reasons why he’s passionate about inspiring these students to catch the digital bug.

1. The future is digital and coding is vital

Computer coding is the language of the 21st Century. These are the skills young people need for a digital future. We want to help prepare these students for the jobs of the future, and that means boosting their technology and digital abilities.

2. It’s great fun

Cowboys Code Club is about teens learning coding by having fun. Code Club Australia helped us create a special project on Scratch designed specifically for NRL Cowboys House – which teaches students how to make a Cowboys goal-kicking computer game. The boys made games and kicked goals with us on and off the field.

3. These are skills students can take home to their communities

NRL Cowboys House is all about giving Indigenous students from rural and remote communities throughout North Queensland the opportunity for better education outcomes. These kids can take the skills they’re learning back to their communities – and show how important computer coding is – but also how fun it can be.

4. Digital youth soar in a digital world

I went through special tech-training from Code Club Australia and Telstra with six other players to learn how to run the Cowboys Code Club. But really, I think the NRL Cowboys House boys picked the coding skills quicker than we did. They are quick learners and had fun making games.

5. On and off the field, rugby league is inspirational

Learning a new skill, whether that’s in the classroom or on the field, is all part of a holistic education, and this is something the Cowboys are truly passionate about. I think rugby league is a great vehicle to inspire kids to learn. Our vision at the club is to support better education outcomes for the youth in North Queensland, and programs like this definitely work to help us achieve that.

Find out more about Cowboys Code Club

What is Code Club Australia?

Telstra Foundation partner Code Club Australia is a non-profit organisation that provides tools and support for volunteers and educators to provide free coding lessons to kids. The mission of Code Club Australia is to give every child in Australia the skills, confidence and opportunity to shape their world. Learn more.

About NRL Cowboys House?
NRL Cowboys House provides supported accommodation for 25 young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students from remote communities in north-west and Far North Queensland, enabling them to access quality secondary education options in Townsville. Learn more.