Thompson a temporary No.7
In theory, Cowboy Ray Thompson's performance at halfback in Saturday's 42-14 thumping of Parramatta should be cause for a conundrum in next round selections, but in practice it may be a different story.
Despite playing a large hand in the 28-point win following Robert Lui's demotion to the Intrust Super Cup, the utility knows where his bread is buttered, saying that he was just filling in and doing a job.
"It felt good [wearing the No.7], but it's not like I'm back there for good. I was just there to do a job and I did that today as best I could. It's just good we got the win," Thompson said.
When asked what on-field role he prefers to occupy, Thompson took a more ‘big picture' approach.
"The preference is to be in first grade so I'll play wherever 'Greeny' (Cowboys coach Paul Green) puts me. I'll do whatever he wants me to do, but tonight I was just out there doing a job and playing the ball when the ball got to me," he said.
Green noted during the week how important Anzac tribute round was for the Cowboys and Townsville in particular, being a garrison city.
And fittingly, no Cowboy is affected more so than Thompson.
Winner of the Anzac Day Medal as man of the match on Saturday, the Townsville local says it means that much more to him coming on such an important stage.
"It's massive, it was humbling," said Thompson of the honour. "Anzac Day has always been massive in our household. The old man is in the Army so to receive the award from guys who have actually done tours with my old man is pretty humbling and it's a massive honour."
When asked what it was like growing up with a father who was constantly away defending his country, Thompson pragmatically said, "It's part and parcel of him being in the Army.
"Growing up you don't know any different. You just hope he comes back safe and he has been lucky [to do that] every time."
Always one to divert attention away from himself, Thompson immediately shifted the focus back to the game.
He lauded the efforts of fellow Townsville junior and good mate Michael Morgan, and his quick rise after assuming the fullback position late in pre-season.
"He's (Morgan) fitting into that role really well. He's a gifted player," Thompson said.
"We let them back in the game in the first half and plays like [the try saver on Jarryd Hayne] lift the team. They dodge a bullet there from a great play by 'Morgo', so they repaid the favour," Thomspon said.
While it is unknown how long Robert Lui will be relegated to playing for the Northern Pride in the Intrust Super Cup, coach Paul Green knows he has an ace up his sleeve in Thompson.
And with the excess of talent at hooker, we may just see him in the playmaking role again in two weeks when they host the Broncos in a much-anticipated Queensland derby.