The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys officially kicked off their 2017 NRL season in front of a 700-strong crowd of special guests on Friday afternoon, their annual Corporate Launch signalling an exciting season of rugby league ahead.
Proceedings at the Townsville Entertainment & Convention Centre were led by MC Glenn Mintern, and included addresses by Toyota Regional Marketing Manager Northern Region Ryan Lacey and 2017 Rugby League World Cup CEO Andrew Hill.
Cowboys CEO Greg Tonner also took the opportunity to thank corporate and community partners for supporting the North’s national team.
“The same beliefs, values and drive for perfection remain this year, and it is with a big thank you to our corporate community that we can achieve this,” Tonner said.
The crowd was entertained with up-close interviews with players Gavin Cooper, Ethan Lowe, Lachlan Coote, Ben Hampton and Kyle Feldt, as well as co-captains Matt Scott and Johnathan Thurston, who gave an insight into this year's campaign.
“We’ve got a strong pack of young players coming through, and it has been exciting to watch the boys blossom in the pre-season competitions,” Thurston said.
One of the highlights of the day was guest speaker Damien Thomlinson captivating the audience with an awe-inspiring story of resilience and integrity, speaking of his experience in the special forces and the synergies of the Cowboys team ethos with his own Army command.
Thomlinson emphasised the importance of a team and understanding the value of the people around you, closing his address to a standing ovation.
“No matter what your position in a team, you will always drop the ball at some point. It is in these moments where you show your ability to move forward that defines the value of team membership,” Thomlinson said.
Guests enjoyed a dining experience complete with wait staff from the Cowboys' very own Dream, Believe, Achieve hospitality program, giving the event a strong tie to the club’s community focus.
The launch concluded with the 2017 Cowboys team introduced to the roar of applause and fireworks, and the anticipation of Round 1 v Raiders on Saturday 4 March at 1300SMILES Stadium.