In his last game in Townsville, Johnathan Thurston has gone out on a high, with the North Queensland Cowboys crushing a woeful Parramatta Eels outfit.
It would be the last time that Thurston would wear Cowboys colours at 1300 Smiles Stadium and the second last game of his career.
The send-off was fitting for a true Cowboys legend, in a game that the Townsville side thoroughly dominated from start to finish.
Three consecutive penalties eventually saw Thurston kick for goal to give the Cowboys an early lead.
Then it started to get ugly for the Eels. Ben Hampton scored a quick-fire double; slicing through for one and then capitalising on quick hands for his second.
The young apprentice in Jake Clifford then stepped up to the plate, perfectly chipping to the corner for Kyle Feldt to score his first try.
Some trademark Feldt acrobatics then ensued as the winger was again on the receiving end of a Clifford pass for his second try.
It just got worse for the Eels as opposite winger Gideon Gela-Mosby scooted down the sideline to give the Cowboys a 32-0 half-time lead.
A moment to forget for Corey Norman saw the next try scored.
A Clifford grubber trickled across the in-goal and Norman’s indecisiveness led to a third try for Kyle Feldt.
The Cowboys would then go up 44-0 when Gavin Cooper scored, the eighth consecutive game in which he has scored a try, equalling Frank Burge’s record.
This was on the back of Brad Takairangi being sent to the sin-bin.
The Eels would finally get on the board when Jarryd Hayne made a break down the right side and found Michael Jennings who scored.
The Eels, to their credit, dug deep in defence after this and repelled attacks from the Cowboys, desperate to score the 50 points which never came.
With just one game left in his playing career, Thurston wants to pass the mantle and praised Clifford as the man to take over.
“We’ve been into him the last few weeks to step up and play his part, and he did that tonight,” Thurston said.
“The pleasing part about that is that is he’s getting a lot of confidence to call the ball.
“With the players we’ve got coming through and the players we’ve got on the sideline, there’s going to be a lot of success in the future.”
Eels coach Brad Arthur just called it like he saw it; his side were outplayed, out-manned and out-gunned.
“It’s embarrassing the score line, but we’ve got to deal with it, we’ve got to move on,” Arthur said.
“They were just way too good for us tonight.
“With the weight of possession we just couldn’t handle them, they just steamrolled us.”
Player of the Game:
3. Jake Clifford
2. Johnathan Thurston
- Kyle Feldt