Cowboys hooker Ray Thompson has been handed even further motivation to hold onto his place in the North Queensland NRL squad as he was handed the honour of unveiling the club's commemorative Anzac Day jersey on Friday.
The NRL draw may still be a month away but the Cowboys paraded their range of jerseys for the 2015 season that includes a one-off Defence Force jersey for their Anzac Day match, the new Heritage jersey that forms part of the club’s 20th anniversary celebrations, a new Indigenous design for Close The Gap Round and a new pink jersey for Women In League Round.
With the Anzac Day centenary of the campaign at Gallipoli falling on Saturday next year, the Cowboys are a good chance of having a home game to commemorate the occasion in Townsville that is home to the Lavarack Army barracks and RAAF Base.
The popular home and away strips remain the same as the 2014 season, with the addition of the 20th anniversary logo and new jersey sponsors Brisclean and Dreamtime Training, who appear on all six jerseys.
To be worn for the club's first home game in 2015, the Heritage design is based on the original 1995 design and features the name of every Cowboys player but it is the Anzac Day jersey that holds the greatest significance for Thompson, whose father has served in the Army for the past 24 years.
Thompson played 22 games in the 2014 season for the Cowboys but with the addition of former Bronco Jake Granville and the consistent displays of Rory Kostjasyn in the No.9 jersey, the 24-year-old knows there are no guarantees he will be there on April 25.
"My old man has been in the Army for about 24 years now and Anzac Day is something that we hold quite close to our hearts," Thompson said. "We celebrate it every year and to be able to present this jersey to the public and hopefully I get a chance to wear it on game day.
"We've got an abundance of hookers there and 'adjustables' as we call them with the halves so it's going to be a tough task but I don't think there's been a pre-season where it's been easy for me."
"We've talked about it before, hooker is where I want to be but at the end of the day I've got that string where I can go into the halves. 'Greeny' (Cowboys coach Paul Green) likes that so wherever he wants me to go I'll go but I'll just get through a gruelling pre-season first."
Having had to work through his first pre-season in charge 12 months ago minus the majority of his senior players who were on World Cup duty, Green and the Cowboys as a whole will benefit from the likes of Johnathan Thurston, Matt Scott and James Tamou having a full pre-season to prepare their bodies for the gruelling year ahead having missed the Four Nations tournament.
For the third year in succession the Cowboys exited the premiership race in controversial circumstances and Thompson admitted that the pain of those defeats continues to be a powerful motivator.
"There's a bit of fire in the belly with the way we exited last year and the last couple of years actually so hopefully I can get through a season fit," he said.
"The way we exited last year is probably the main motivation."
The home and away jerseys are expected to be available at the Cowboys Team Shop next week with 2015 members receiving a 10 per cent discount off their purchase.
The other four jerseys can be pre-ordered and should be available prior to Christmas.