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Photo: Mark Nolan © NRL Photos

Veteran utility Ray Thompson, 26, made the most of limited opportunities in 2016, which was his eighth season in Cowboys colours.

Playing behind established halves pairing Johnathan Thurston and Michael Morgan, as well as hooking duo Jake Granville and Rory Kostjasyn, Thompson battled injury early in the season and first suited up for NRL duty in Round 12 against the Dragons in Wollongong.

The Townsville product backed up a strong game the following week against the Knights, scoring a memorable double in his 100th NRL/Cowboys game as part of a 46-16 Cowboys victory.

Equally at home filling in for the halves or at dummy-half, Thompson got five more opportunities to play at NRL level in 2016, with the rest of his time spent steering the Townsville Blackhawks to a second consecutive Intrust Super Cup finals campaign.

Next season will present the Papua New Guinean international with significant challenges as he competes for playing time with up-and-coming hooker Josh Chudleigh, young half Kyle Laybutt and former Storm utility Ben Hampton.

2016 STATS

Played: 7
Tries: 3
Average run metres: 63
Average tackles
: 21
Tackle breaks: 6
Line breaks: 2

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.