Without question, he is the greatest player to have ever donned the North Queensland Cowboys jersey and in a move that will please even the most ardent of fans, veteran play-maker Johnathan Thurston will play on in 2018.
Re-signing with the club late yesterday, Thurston never had any plans to finish his career at a different club.
“It’s a real joy to be able to say I’ll be continuing on with the Cowboys in NRL season 2018,” Thurston said.
“This club has given me so much over my 13 years here. I’ve played alongside some great talents, worked with amazing people and shared in phenomenal successes.
“It’s been a real privilege to be associated with the North Queensland Cowboys and now that the deal is done, I can concentrate on my footy and helping my teammates on and off the field.”
A man that gets the best out of his team-mates both on and off the field, Thurston has been revered for his sportsmanship, his teamwork and his kindness.
The above traits, coupled with his sublime on-field ability and game awareness, have all helped him throughout his career in the eyes of Cowboys coach, Paul Green.
“Johnathan’s a class act, is one of the fiercest competitors I’ve seen play rugby league and to have him see out his career here is wonderful news and a credit to all involved,” Green said.
“He’s developed into a true leader in that he leads by example. He’s always a pleasure to coach and he’s a true mentor for our younger guys coming through.”
Joining the Cowboys in 2005 after he won a premiership with the Canterbury Bulldogs in 2004, even he would admit that the early going was tough as the Townsville club were still finding their feet.
Not one to shy away from a challenge, though, Thurston performed brilliantly and consistently, leading to a maiden premiership for the Cowboys in 2015.
That, coupled with a litany of appearances for both the Queensland Maroons and the Australian Kangaroos, and it is easy to see why so many believe Johnathan Thurston is currently the game’s best player.
It is no secret that the club themselves are ecstatic to have retained Thurston for a further season.
“The Cowboys are overall a better club because of Johnathan Thurston’s long association,” said Peter Parr, the Cowboys General Manager of Football.
“He came here for any opportunity to play regular first grade, which he received, and he’s given that faith back many times over.
“We’re thrilled he’s to remain a Cowboy into next season.”