Queensland hands would have had their hearts in their mouths, after their five-eighth for the upcoming Origin series was on the receiving end of a low act involving the elbow, from Dragons forward Matt Prior.
The hit was that bad, that Prior was sent from the field after just the 55th minute, leaving the Dragons to fight for the rest of the game, a man down.
With the Cowboys asserting their early dominance, taking a 22-point lead into the half-time break – on the back of some good work from the experienced players in Thurston as well as centre Brent Tate, the Dragons simply had no answer for it.
Despite their win however, there was one lingering concern – with prop QLD prop Matt Scott going off with an ankle injury, despite having only just returned from injury tonight.
Things will be even mistier for the Cowboys, with interchange hooker James Segeyaro also on report for a high shot on Dragons halfback, Ben Hornby.
Despite the late, high shot from Prior however – he showed good sportsmanship over the incident, offering a sincere apology to JT, and even attempted to find him – though the Cowboys were in a recovery session.
“It wasn’t a brain explosion,” Prior said.
“I was just going in for a shoulder charge and slipped up and got him high which I’m regretting now and I honestly didn’t mean to do that.
“I’m really sorry for it and I hope he’s OK.”
Despite the initial concerns about Thurston, Cowboys coach Neil Henry said that Thurston seemed fine and in good spirits, and that he would not require any scans.
“There’ll be ongoing stuff with concussion anyway so our medical team will look at that and obviously if he’s getting headaches or anything like that we’d have to monitor it and he might be off training for a couple of days,” Henry said.
Whilst Henry agrees with the decision to send him off, he will leave the sentencing for Prior to the judiciary.
“I’ve seen it once and it was high and sometimes they’re on report and to say whether it warrants a send-off, I’d probably say yes in that situation and I’d expect it’d happen to one of my players if that happened,” he said.
Steve Price, the Dragons coach, said that Prior was disappointed in himself for the late hit – saying that the forward felt like he had let his team-mates down.
“It was a very unfortunate incident and he’s very apologetic in the dressing shed,” Price said.
“He’s a bit disappointed and feels like he’s let his team down.”