Back from a sickening, season-ending shoulder charge that broke his jaw, Ray Thompson wants to reclaim the Cowboys No.9 jersey in this weekend’s final NRL trial

If anyone can take it on the chin, it is North Queensland hooker Ray Thompson.

But Thompson – back from a sickening, jaw-breaking Kade Snowden shoulder charge – reckons he is not going to stand by and let a fresh crop of No.9 aspirants usurp his starting position at the Cowboys.

Thompson was not given any clue of how he was placed in the No.9 pecking order when new Cowboys coach Paul Green mysteriously named an alphabetical squad for Saturday night’s final NRL trial against Gold Coast in Toowoomba.

However Thompson made his intentions clear after battling back from Snowden’s hit that ended his year way back in August, earning the Newcastle forward a season-ending seven match ban.

“I am working extremely hard and doing what I can to keep that No.9 jersey,” Thompson said.

“I don’t think I am going to have to change too much.

“If I do my job, be strong defensively, provide good service and take my opportunities that’s all I can do.

“But I will see how I go this weekend – it’s up to Greeny.”

Thompson appears to have the early jump on the No.9 jersey with the man who completed the season as Cowboys hooker Rory Kostjasyn failing to back up in the Toowoomba trial after their Auckland Nines triumph.

But that was news to Thompson who bounced around in the halves since his 2009 NRL debut before staking a convincing claim for hooker.

“I have to work hard and not let them (rivals) get an opportunity because if I do they won’t let it go,” he said.

“I can’t get complacent.

“Whether I have earned it or not I am not sure.

“I have worked extremely hard for it, and hopefully good things will come.

“I have been around here a while but I don’t think I am owed anything.”