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Almost 1,000 young footballers had the chance to meet their North Queensland Toyota Cowboys heroes face to face at Cowboys HQ today.

An annual highlight of the Laurie Spina Shield, presented by Guildford Coal, the 64 teams of under-11s lined up to say hello and get autographs from the North Queensland NRL squad including co-captains Matt Scott and Johnathan Thurston and fellow State of Origin representatives Brent Tate and James Tamou.

As usual, the queues to meet JT were the longest with the two-time Dally M Medal winner signing away for well over an hour, alongside former Laurie Spina Shield players Michael Morgan, Anthony Mitchell and Ray Thompson who were also on his signing table.

Scott and Tate joined the session despite suffering serious injuries in last week’s State of Origin game two in Sydney, again showing their dedication to their young fans.

“It’s just great to see so many kids who love their league and want to catch up with us,” Tate said.

“I wish we had something like this when I was a kid. You can see what a huge thing it is for them to be here for the two days and to meet the boys today.”

The 64 teams are all invited to watch the Cowboys take on the Rabbitohs on Saturday night and to be part of the Fastest Feet relay at half time of the NRL match.

The Laurie Spina Shield final will be held prior to kick off giving the two teams the chance to not only play at 1300SMILES Stadium but also do so with a huge crowd watching the action.

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.