Cowboys co-captain Johnathan Thurston has given Kirwan State School year seven student Marcus Cowan an early Christmas surprise today by presenting the 12-year-old with his prizes as the winner of the 2014 Cowboys Christmas Card Competition, proudly supported by Stockland Townsville.

Marcus’s card design (above), which carries the words “Christmas is about passing the cheer around”, was voted as the best of more than 500 fantastic entries received from primary schools across North Queensland.

It will be printed on the Cowboys’ Christmas card, which will be sent to our network of contacts across Australia and overseas in December.

At school assembly today, JT rewarded Marcus for his great work, presenting him with a Cowboys jersey with his favourite number on the back and a $100 Stockland gift card, while Kirwan State School received a $400 Stockland gift card and a 2014 Cowboys team jersey, signed and framed.

The judges also decided on four age group winners who will each receive a signed Cowboys football.

The age group winners were:

• 5-6 years: Hayley Barton (The Willows State School)
• 7-8 years: Cayenne Robertson (Vincent State School)
• 9-10 years: Sharla Campbell (Kirwan State School)
• 11-13 years: Shonya Grogan (Herberton State School)

This year’s entries, which follow the theme of “Christmas is…...”, are on display at Stockland Townsville until late December, giving participating students the opportunity to show off their artwork.

"We had another big response to the competition from our North Queensland students who again jumped right into the Christmas spirit with their designs,” Cowboys community relations manager Fiona Pelling said.

"We have to say a big thank you to those talented young artists who took part and also to our participating schools and Stockland for their enthusiasm and continued support.

“We’d like to wish a special merry Christmas to everyone who entered.”