Support for Cowboys 'overwhelming' ahead of grand final
The Cowboys will farewell the north on Thursday morning with a Grand Final farewell parade through the streets of Townsville.
The parade bus will start at one end of The Strand, working its way across the waterfront and will reach its crescendo in front of another large congregation at Townsville airport.
The event is open for all members of the public and media, and adds to the level of community engagement following Tuesday's open training session.
Cowboys General Manager for Community Fiona Pelling says the engagement during Grand Final week is a deserved reward for a community that lives, breathes and bleeds blue and grey.
"It's fantastic where the Cowboys have come this year, we have been so excited we've had amazing community support," Pelling told NRL.com.
"It's a community-owned club so we love to reward the fans and the people of North Queensland by being successful. It's been fantastic and the community are really responding well.
"I imagine they will have a lot of support going to the airport, with people just coming out and waving the flag; it will be fabulous.
"This is just desserts for the Cowboys community who give so much to the club and it is only fitting that the club gives back.
"This win is in partnership with the community. This whole success of their journey has been directly related to the investment of the North Queensland community and other members from other regions.
"They wouldn't be where they are without such strong community backing.
"They are such a lovely group, this team, and they are really genuinely humbled by the whole community being so vocal and supportive.
"The feedback and the support and the beautiful letters we've received... we've had kids making up songs and it's really quite overwhelming for both the team and the staff."
Pelling also complimented CEO Greg Tonner on his ethos of engagement and level of energy around Cowboys HQ.
"I'm always stalking him and teaching him a new community that he's got to get his head around, and he loves it – he's really passionate about the community connection," she said.
"He's very focused on connection, so ensuring that North Queensland as a whole, that we can be as involved with everyone as we possibly can.
"That's his driver, Greg. He's a real high-energy guy and he's bigger than Ben-Hur, with big ideas.
"The sky is not a limit as far as he's concerned, there is something beyond, and we should be reaching for that.
"At every away game he goes down and instead of staying in the box, he sits with the Cowboys fans. He actually jumps the fence. He went and bought a whole lot of flags and gave all the supporters flags to make our presence bigger and better at away games."
The Cowboys will leave Townsville at 9.25am on Thursday and will resume Grand Final festivities as well as a mini-camp with a couple of training sessions before Sunday's game.