Cowboys to cover 2,500km in 11 hours
Twelve members of the Cowboys' grand final squad that delivered North Queensland a maiden Telstra Premiership will be on board when the Provan-Summons Trophy embarks on a three-leg regional tour on Sunday.
Led by co-captains Johnathan Thurston and Matt Scott, Cowboys players, Bluey the Mascot and members of the North Queensland Spirit cheerleading team will be on a charter flight that leaves Townsville airport at 8am on Sunday morning en route to Mackay, Mt Isa and Cairns.
There will be a motorcade from 9am in Mackay before a presentation at Bluewater Lagoon, Mayor Tony McGrady will welcome the Cowboys to Buchanan Park in Mt Isa from 12.45pm and the final stop on the whirlwind thank you mission will be Barlow Park in Cairns from 4pm.
This is the first in what will be rolling tours of North Queensland for the Provan-Summons Trophy over the next 12 months and will see Cowboys heroes cover 2,528 kilometres before arriving back into Townsville at 7pm on Sunday night.
Players unable to make the trip had prior commitments such as weddings and overseas trips already booked but football manager Peter Parr praised the way in which the entire playing group have embraced the community responsibility of their achievements.
"The team means a lot to a lot of different people in North Queensland so we're hoping we get a really healthy response," Parr told NRL.com.
"Our players have always understood that they represent all of North Queensland. They understand their responsibilities that come with that and it was just a matter of finding a day where we could get as many of them together as possible.
"They understand how many people come to watch them play and support them from afar and they are really looking forward to thanking all those people.
"Our fans never fail to amaze us and we got an enormous response in Townsville so we're hoping that we get a really healthy turnout on Sunday as well.
"I know the players were humbled by the response they received at Townsville at the airport and then out at the stadium. If you combine the two together there were probably 20,000 people there and they were blown away by that level of support and if we get big numbers I think they'll be humbled once more."
The 12 Cowboys players who will be making the journey are Thurston, Scott, Jason Taumalolo, Kyle Feldt, Justin O'Neill, Kane Linnett, Antonio Winterstein, Ethan Lowe, Rory Kostjasyn, Scott Bolton, Ben Hannant and Ray Thompson.
The symbol of Telstra Premiership supremacy will continue to tour around North Queensland over the next 12 months with the trophy to accompany players when they return to their home towns during the course of the season.