Although he will play on in the 2017 season and potentially for Papua New Guinea at this year’s World Cup, North Queensland Cowboys utility Ray Thompson has made the decision to retire.
Suffering from numerous knee issues throughout his career, the 111-gamer knows that his body is telling him that it cannot take much more and so he made the decision that 2017 would be his last.
Regarded as one of the toughest players and competitors at the Cowboys, Thompson made his NRL debut in the same year as his Holden Cup debut; 2009.
Thompson thanked the Cowboys club for everything that they have done for him for nearly a decade.
“This club has been everything to me for nearly a decade, it’s given me plenty and I’d like to think I’ve given back to it as well,” Thompson said.
“I’ve got nothing but great memories of my time playing here and to take the field with these blokes has been a true privilege.
“I’ve battled through some injuries throughout my career, so now was the right time to call curtains, but rest assured I’ll be giving it my all for the rest of the season.”
A true clubman, Thompson received praise from Cowboys General Manager of Football Peter Parr who was full of wraps of all sorts for the livewire utility.
“Earlier in the year, Paul Green said Ray was ‘as tough as a two-dollar steak’ after he played against the Knights,” Parr said.
“That’s been the story of his entire career, and while he’s had his challenges on the injury front, he’s never blinked at getting back on to the field. ”
He will not be lost to the game or to the Cowboys club when his playing career finishes up either.
Thompson will work with the club’s community team as an engagement and promotions officer alongside former Cowboy Matt Bowen.