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One outstanding North Queensland Toyota Cowboys NRL squad member will now have his performance in the annual Anzac Day tribute match live on in perpetuity.

The Anzac Day Award shield will replace the 'Digger the Bear' toy mascot that Australian Army representatives have previously presented post-match to the Cowboy whose effort on the field best displays the Army’s core values on the battlefield.

Ricky Thorby won the award in its inaugural year in 2012 when the Cowboys played South Sydney at ANZ Stadium, while Tariq Sims earned a Digger bear against Canberra at 1300SMILES Stadium last season.

Their names are the first to be engraved on the shield which will be presented after Saturday night’s round eight clash with the Parramatta Eels and housed at Lavarack Barracks.

The Anzac Day Award is one of many close ties between the Cowboys and the Australian Defence Force, including having serving and retired Defence Force members speak to the NRL squad prior to each Anzac Day game.

“They just talk to us about their experiences,” coach Paul Green said.

“It’s important that we remember the sacrifices they’ve made for us.

“Townsville’s a garrison city, we have a lot of armed forces members up here so I think days like Anzac Day and Remembrance Day mean just that little bit more to our community.”

The Cowboys coaching staff attended this morning’s Dawn Service at The Strand in Townsville before joining the NRL squad at 1300SMILES Stadium for their final training session of the week.

Main image: Corporal Michael Hamer with the Anzac Day Award shield

Acknowledgement of Country

North Queensland Cowboys respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.