Cowboys halfback Johnathan Thurston against the Broncos at 1300SMILES Stadium.

Johnathan Thurston is set to play at the Downer NRL Auckland Nines for the first time as the Cowboys named a strong squad on Tuesday morning.

Thurston will join captain Gavin Cooper and fellow stars Jake Granville, Kyle Feldt, Jason Taumalolo and Michael Morgan. 

"The squad’s a good mix of the lesser experienced players with the guys who have played a bit more footy, and who do well in this format," coach Paul Green said.

"I think the Nines is a great tournament. It’s a little bit less pressure and everyone seems to be in a more relaxed mood, from the coaches to the players."

Young flyer Gideon Gela-Mosby will again join the Nines squad after impressing on debut last year, while new recruits Ben Hampton and Shane Wright have also been included.

Cowboys Downer NRL Auckland Nines squad: John Asiata, Javid Bowen, Gavin Cooper (c), Kyle Feldt, Gideon Gela-Mosby, Jake Granville, Ben Hampton, Coen Hess, Shaun Hudson, Corey Jensen, Kane Linnett, Ethan Lowe, Michael Morgan, Justin O’Neill, Kalyn Ponga, Jason Taumalolo, Johnathan Thurston, Shane Wright.