SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 11: Ray Thompson of the Cowboys looks on during the round 10 NRL match between the Canterbury Bulldogs and the North Queensland Cowboys at ANZ Stadium on May 11, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Tough-as-nails North Queensland Cowboys utility Ray Thompson will call time on his football career at the end of the current NRL season.

Townsville junior Thompson, 27, has been with the Cowboys since 2009, the year he made both his National Youth Competition and NRL debuts.

He has gone on to play 111 matches for his beloved Cowboys, has represented Papua New Guinea at the 2013 World Cup and played for the Indigenous team at the showcase All Stars match.

In announcing his retirement, Thompson said persistent knee problems played a part in him coming to the decision.

He stressed, though, that he remained committed to getting back on to the field this year to help his team for the remainder of the regular season, and on to a potential seventh straight finals series.

Thompson also signalled his intention to be available for selection for PNG at this year’s Rugby League World Cup, where the Kumuls will play their pool matches in the nation’s capital, Port Moresby.

“This club has been everything to me for nearly a decade, it’s given me plenty and I’d like to think I’ve given back to it as well,” Thompson said.

“I’ve got nothing but great memories of my time playing here and to take the field with these blokes has been a true privilege.

Cowboys 2021 Player Movements

2021 Gains
Michael Bell (2021), Lachlan Burr (New Zealand Warriors, 2022), Heilum Luki (2021), Ieremia Nanai (2021), Griffin Neame (2021)
2021 Losses
John Asiata (released), Gavin Cooper (retired), Tom Opacic (Parramatta Eels), Dan Russell (released), Garrett Smith (released)
Re-Signed
Reuben Cotter (2022), Mitchell Dunn (2022), Kyle Feldt (2024), Tom Gilbert (2022), Francis Molo (2021), Emry Pere (2022), Shane Wright (2021)
Off Contract 2021
Michael Bell, Ben Condon, Scott Drinkwater, Jake Granville, Wiremu Greig, Ben Hampton, Corey Jensen, Connelly Lemuelu, Heilum Luki, Francis Molo, Ieremia Nanai, Griffin Neame, Justin O'Neill, Tukimihia Simpkins, Murray Taulagi, Shane Wright