If you had asked him before the game what he thought of his form, he would have admitted that it was not at the level he would have liked it to be – but when required to perform, he does just that, as North Queensland Cowboys five-eighth Johnathan Thurston grabbed the bull by the horns when his side needed it most and steered them to a narrow in over the St George Illawarra Dragons.
Playing at a hostile environment at WIN Stadium, the Cowboys came away with a 22-16 victory, one set up by the brilliance of Thurston who had his best game all year.
His performance will not only please Cowboys fans but also QLD fans, with Origin 2 just around the corner.
In front of a rather poor crowd od just over 9000 fans, the Cowboys win, whilst on the back of Thurston’s attack, also came on the back of their defence as they defended seven successive sets in the final 10 minutes to hold on for a much needed victory.
For the Dragons, although the loss at home was perhaps one that they could not afford, there were once again fantastic signs from the back by fullback Josh Dugan, who did his potential Origin chances no harm should Jarryd Hayne be out injured.
The try-scoring went back and forth like a game of Pong and it was ultimately the Cowboys that scored the decider in the end, though the win Online Casino did come at a cost.
Two key players in back-rower Tariq Sims and Robert Lui were both placed on report for high tackles that made contact with the head, with Dugan also likely to come under scrutiny for a similar incident, although he was not placed on report.
With the game seen as a key one by fans and officials alike, Neil Henry praised his side’s resolute defence and hopes that they do in fact use it as a turning point of their season.
“The resolve defensively was something we needed to show,” Henry said.
“It was a great effort tonight. We had a few errors in our attack and it’s a hard-fought win.
“They had a lot of momentum and a lot of ball and we have to make sure that it’s a turning point.
“We were hanging on but it was going to take a special play to get through us … but it was pretty nervous out there.”
Solely on the game itself, Dragons coach Steve Price was rather disappointed at how his side let the game slip away, but he was full of praise for Dugan.
“We certainly had our chances, especially in that last eight-and-a-half minutes,” Price said.
“Full credit to the Cowboys – I thought they defended their line very well.
“I thought he (Dugan) was great tonight. He’s certainly pushing for Origin, isn’t he? He’s a special player.”
3. Johnathan Thurston
2. Josh Dugan
1. Matt Scott