Was he going to stay or was he going to leave? That was the question everyone was asking for quite some time now and in news that will please all Cowboys fans, the game’s best half has agreed to stay with the North Queensland Cowboys, re-signing for a further 4 years.
The deal, which will run until the end of the 2014 NRL season, will mean that Thurston will have played in 13 seasons for the Cowboys when it ends – a tremendous feat.
Thurston, a two-time Dally M winner, a Golden Boot winner in 2011 and a QLD and Australian representative, has played in 169 NRL games to date for the Cowboys.
The announcement is one that the Cowboys are delighted with, as CEO Peter Jourdain said that the moment was a highly significant one for the club both now and moving forward.
â€œEveryone who follows rugby league knows he is one of the best players, if not the best player, in the game,â€ Mr Jourdain said.
â€œHe is exceptional on the field, has been a long-time leader of our club, and is one of the faces of the Cowboys off the field.
â€œHis re-signing is fantastic news for the Cowboys and North Queensland, especially as it comes on top of extended contracts for our other current two Test players, Matthew Scott and James Tamou.
â€œWe are confident that we have put in place a squad that can challenge for the premiership this year and for years to come.
â€œThis also means Johnathan will be able to continue the huge amount of off-field work he performs for our club through programs such as Learn Earn Legend!, as well as for many of our valued sponsors.â€
There was no man happier than Thurston himself, though, who cited a good few reasons as to why he wanted to stay at the club, with the game’s best half keen to get stuck into footy once more.
â€œI’m very excited to announce that Iâ€™m re-signing with the Cowboys until the end of the 2017 season,â€ Thurston said.
â€œI’m really looking forward to seeing a huge Cowboys crowd for our first home game this Saturday night and will cherish being able to lead the side out with one of my best mates, Matthew Scott, once again.â€
“I thought my last contract was a tough decision, but it had nothing on this. Personally, want to thank Sydney clubs.”
Whilst Thurston admits that it was not easy, it was the allure of starting a family in Townsville, the lifestyle of the community and the fact that his best mates are in the area, that convinced him it was the right move to stay in North Queensland.
“Delighted & relieved to get it out of the way early in the season. Starting a family, lifestyle, the club,” said Thurston.
“Life-long friends here and best mates. We have unfinished business here and we have a squad that can give it [the NRL premiership] a shake.”
“Family on the way. To raise kids here, it’s great place, lifestyle is great & people are great in Townsville & North Queensland.”
Peter Parr, the Cowboys General Manager of Football, was thrilled that the club managed to hold onto Thurston, one of the game’s best players.
“Everyone is delighted that he decided to stay on,” said Parr.
“To be able to have finalised it so early, everyone is happy.
“He means so much to our club. Everyone is happy that players are committing and are focused on what we are doing.”
“It means we’ve got one of the best players in the world if not the best, for the next 5 years. Means a lot to his team-mates.”
“It gives us a wonderful platform moving forward. Every club has challenges with the salary cap, but we’re doing pretty good so far.”