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.

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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.

North Queensland Cowboys 2018 Player Movements

2018 Gains
Carlin Anderson (2019), Te Maire Martin (Penrith Panthers, 2019), Jordan McLean (Melbourne Storm, 2020), Francis Molo (Brisbane Broncos, 2020)
2018 Losses
Patrick Kaufusi (Melbourne Storm), Patrick Mago (Brisbane Broncos), Kalyn Ponga (Newcastle Knights), Ray Thompson (retired), Braden Uele (Cronulla Sharks)
John Asiata (2020), Scott Bolton (2019), Jake Clifford (2020), Gavin Cooper (2019), Kyle Feldt (2020), Shaun Hudson (2018), Corey Jensen (2019), Kyle Laybutt (2018), Gideon Mosby-Gela (2019), Emry Pere (2020), Matthew Scott (2019), Murray Taulagi (2019), Jason Taumalolo (2027), Johnathan Thurston (2018), Enari Tuala (2019)
Off Contract 2018
Javid Bowen, Josh Chudleigh, Lachlan Coote, Shaun Fensom, Sam Hoare, Shaun Hudson, Marcus Jensen, Kyle Laybutt, Kane Linnett, Ethan Lowe, Justin O'Neill, Johnathan Thurston, Antonio Winterstein
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