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Johnathan Thurston

Johnathan Thurston
  • Date of Birth: 25-04-1983
  • Height: 179
  • Weight: 87
  • Position: Halfback
  • Rep. Honours: Qld, Australia, All Stars
  • Junior Clubs: Souths Sunnybank
  • Previous Clubs: Bulldogs
  • FG Debut: Bulldogs v Panthers, CUA Stadium, 08/06/02 (Rd 13)
  • Club Debut: v Broncos, Suncorp Stadium, 13/03/05 (Rd 1)
  • Instagram: jthurston06
  • Facebook: johnathanthurstonofficial


  • COWBOY #167

    Born/ home town: Brisbane
    Career highlight: Premierships
    First job: Stacking shelves as a butcher's assistant
    Favourite recipe: Chicken stuff cooked by my wife!
    I would spend my last $10 on: My girls
    If you were an animal, what kind would you be? Brown bear
    Something not many people know about you: I have two brothers & a sister


    • Premierships: 2 (2004, 2015)
    • Dally M Medal Player of the Year: 4 (2005, 2007, 2014, 2015)
    • Rugby League World Golden Boot Award: 3 (2011, 2013, 2015)
    • Paul Bowman Medal for Cowboy of the Year: 4 (2005, 2012, 2014, 2015)
    • Clive Churchill Medal: 2015
    • Cowboys captain: Since 2007 (co-captain from 2011)
    • Indigenous Halfback of the Century (1908-2007)
    • Dally M Halfback of the Year: 2005, 2007, 2009, 2015
    • Dally M Five-Eighth of the Year: 2012, 2013, 2014
    • Dally M Captain of the Year: 2015
    • Ken Stephen Medal: 2012
    • 2,000 career (NRL) points: Round 2, 2017
    • 2,000 club points: Round 6, 2017

    2,000 points for the Cowboys – Round 6, 2017

  • After receiving a series of knockbacks from clubs saying he was too small to play in the NRL, Thurston was given his chance by the Canterbury Bulldogs who handed the then 19-year-old his top grade debut in round 13 of the 2002 season.

    Although Thurston never cemented a starting position and only took part in 29 matches throughout three seasons at the Bulldogs, in his final year in 2004, he was part of the premiership-winning side coming off the bench in the Bulldogs’ 16-13 win over the Sydney Roosters.

    He joined the Cowboys for the 2005 season and immediately made an impact, taking the club to its first grand final, as well as winning the Dally M Medal for Player of the Year and the Dally M Halfback of the Year award.

    His first State of Origin appearance for Queensland also came in ’05 and he made his Test debut for Australia a year later.

    Thurston was appointed Cowboys captain in 2007, led them to the preliminary final and once again clinched the Dally M Medal/Halfback of the Year double.

    He has been selected in each of the six Indigenous All Stars matches, was named in the Indigenous Team of the Century, has won five State of Origin man-of-the-match awards, was the Wally Lewis Medal winner for State of Origin player of the series in 2008; and the 2011, 2013 and 2015 Golden Boot winner for world rugby league player of the year. He is also the Cowboys’ all-time leading points scorer (1754).

    In 2012, Thurston brought up 1,000 career points and 150 matches for North Queensland, was named Dally M Five-Eighth of the Year, won his second Paul Bowman Medal as Cowboys Player of the Year and the prestigious Ken Stephen Medal, awarded by the NRL, for his off-field community work.

    Season 2013 saw Thurston retain the Cowboys’ co-captaincy and lead the Cowboys to a record third straight finals appearance, and he also brought up his 200th NRL game and 1300 career points.

    He was the only player to have lined up in every single match of Queensland's eight State of Origin series victories and has not missed an Origin clash since his debut in game one, 2005.

    Thurston won the 2013 RLPA Player of the Year award, The Deadlys Indigenous NRL Player of the Year award, was equal second in the 2013 Dally M Medal and joint winner of the Five-Eighth of the Year Award, and won his second Golden Boot, becoming only the third player to win twice.

    During an amazing Rugby League World Cup campaign, JT won the man-of-the-match award in the tournament opener against England and the final against New Zealand at Old Trafford and was named as the player of the tournament.

    He also moved into the No.1 spot on the Kangaroos’ all-time scorers’ list.

    Cowboys members and fans saw arguably JT’s best season in 2014 as he guided his team to fifth place on the ladder, a finals win against Brisbane and, agonisingly, a one-point loss to the Roosters that ended his quest for the premiership.

    At his inspirational and creative best, JT won a third Dally M Medal, this time sharing it with Parramatta’s Jarryd Hayne, a third Paul Bowman Medal as Cowboy of the Year, a third RLPA Players’ Player Award, the Provans Summons Medal voted by the public and a host of media player of the year prizes.

    In his first season under a new structure put in place by coach Paul Green, Thurston led the NRL in try assists and linebreak assists and even crossed for 11 tries of his own, equalling a personal best for tries in a season.

    Other highlights included reaching 200 games for the Cowboys, setting a new club record for points in a season (234) and leading the NRL’s point-scoring list for the home and away rounds (208).

    In the representative arena, the champion halfback/five-eighth extended his record for consecutive State of Origin appearances to 30 matches and he overtook Mal Meninga as the leading Origin point-scorer of all time.

    At the end-of-season presentation night, JT officially became only the Cowboys’ fifth life member after reaching 200 games for the Cowboys earlier in the year.

    He became the second-most capped player for the Cowboys in round 6, 2015, posting his 220th game for the club and overtaking Aaron Payne to sit behind Matthew Bowen (270).

    If 2014 was Thurston’s best year to date, 2015 surely eclipsed all before it, and by some margin.

    In guiding the team to a historic maiden premiership following its best-ever home-and-away season (17 wins, seven losses) and a stirring 17-16 grand final win over the Brisbane Broncos, Thurston won just about every accolade there was to win.

    A record fourth Dally M Medal was his after his stellar NRL season where he led the league in try assists and line break assists, while he also collected a fourth halfback of the year gong and captain of the year honours alongside teammate Matt Scott. Thurston again won the publicly voted Provan-Summons Medal for the second year in succession, a fourth Paul Bowman Medal as the Cowboys’ best player and a fourth RLPA player of the year award.

    In guiding the Cowboys to premiership glory, Thurston won the Clive Churchill medal and narrowed the gap on Matt Bowen (270) for games played for the Cowboys (239).

    On the Origin arena, Thurston extended his record uninterrupted streak of 33 consecutive matches over 11 seasons and he collected his fifth Origin Man of the Match away in the 52-6 Game three rout over the Blues as Queensland regained the coveted Shield.

    Other honours to come Thurston’s way in 2015 included:

    • Philips Sports Dad of the Year
    • Big League Magazine’s Player of the Year
    • Channel 9 Wide World of Sports Golden Kenny trophy for Australian sports star of the year
    • Awarded an Honorary Doctor of Letters from James Cook University for "outstanding service and exceptional contributions to the northern Queensland community"

    After sweeping all before him in 2015 – both in terms of individual accolades and in every team he played for – North Queensland Toyota Cowboys co-captain Johnathan Thurston entered 2016 on a high and keen to lead his team to further success.

    He didn’t have to wait long for more spoils to come, piloting the Cowboys to their inaugural World Club Challenge title with a masterful display in the 38-4 routing of English Super League champs Leeds Rhinos at Headingley Stadium in February.

    Having led the Cowboys to an NRL title four months prior, and also playing a leading hand in multiple successes for the Maroons and Kangaroos over the years, Thurston – who forwent playing in the 2016 All Stars match to best prepare for England – could now count a WCC title among his list of achievements.

    The crowning glory on that cold English night was Thurston being awarded the Graham Murray Medal – named in honour of Thurston’s former Cowboys coach and Leeds mentor – for his man-of-the-match efforts. 

    Once the 2016 National Rugby League season began, Thurston again performed at a high level in his 12th season in Cowboys colours.

    He played in 24 games, scoring two tries, kicking 96 goals and leading the competition in try assists with 25.

    Missing the Round 12 and Round 18 matches due to State of Origin commitments, Thurston missed just one other club game in 2016, with a hamstring injury ruling him out of what was to be the team’s only loss at 1300SMILES Stadium for the year as the Melbourne Storm ground out a 16-8 win in Round 21.

    Having already won the game’s highest individual honour – the Dally M Medal – four times, Thurston was again in the mix in 2016, and finished equal third in the count with 22 votes, the same number as good friend and Maroons teammate Cameron Smith and four adrift of joint winners, fellow Cowboy Jason Taumalolo and the Storm’s Cooper Cronk.

    He was also a nominee for Halfback of the Year, Representative Player of the Year, the People’s Choice Award and Captain of the Year.

    On the representative front, Thurston was chief playmaker in the Kangaroos’ 16-0 win over New Zealand in the May Test in Newcastle, and was also instrumental in Queensland going back-to-back in Origin, the Maroons clinching the series 2-1.

    Thurston fronted up for the Kangaroos in the Four Nations tournament in England during October and November, before returning to North Queensland for pre-season preparations for the final year of his current Cowboys contract.

    He became the sixth professional rugby league player to reach 2,000 career points in Round 2, 2017 against the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium, going on to amass 2,000 club points for the Cowboys in Round 6, 2017 against the Tigers at 1300SMILES Stadium.

    Thurston will see out his career at the club in which he has tasted most of his success as a rugby league superstar after agreeing in May 2017 to a one-year contract extension.