In true Christmas spirit, Cowboys halfback Jonathon Thurston, whilst wearing reindeer antlers, says that he has two Christmas wishes, both of which he hopes come true for his side in 2011.

“A bit of finals footy would be nice and injury free, so Santa can you please help me,” Thurston said at the NRL Players’ Charity Christmas Party.

The man regarded as the games best halfback, and with reason, will officially start his 2011 campaign next week as he resumes pre-season training with the Cowboys.

Following a major clean-out by the Cowboys club, Thurston will be training with a remarkable 15 new players following their poor 2010 season, in which they lost more games than any other club.

Thurston believes that despite having his own captaincy of the club questioned, as well as people having doubts over the culture of the Cowboys, that his team has a genuine chance of making the finals in 2011.

“We can’t do any worse,” Thurston said in Brisbane.

“We’ve made a lot of changes within the organisation and it’s been a breath of fresh air.

“I’m very confident with the changes made and training’s been great and I’m just really looking forward to what 2011 holds.

“We haven’t died wondering that’s for sure. We’re trying to improve the club inside and out and now it’s up to us to put the wins on the board.”

After his reported misdemeanor on the Gold Coast in which police said he was being a public nuisance, Thurston said that he is relieved to retain the captaincy, and that his decision to skip the Four Nations due to injury is an indication that he is committed to turning the clubs fortunes around.

“I haven’t had a pre-season in so long, I think I did the right thing for my body and definitely did the right thing by the club not to play the Four Nations,” he said.

“There’s 15 or 16 new faces in the playing squad and those new faces need to know what our playing values are and the culture of the club and it’s importance to north Queensland.”

After failing to attract Roosters stalwart Braith Anasta to their club, the Cowboys want to do all they can to get a good partnership brewing between Thurston and their younger halves in Ray Thompson and Michael Morgan.

Whilst Thurston believes that both Thompson and Morgan have the potential and that they can rise up to the occasion, however he was still hopeful they could sign another player.

“We’ve still got a bit of money in the cap there to get a quality player to the club,” he said.

“We’re a bit skinny in the halves, we’ve got young Ray Thompson who is training very well and Michael Morgan as well, but we’re (also) a front-rower away and we’re looking in the market in those positions.”

By ricky

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