Two-time Golden Boot winner Johnathan Thurston will not play for North Queensland in the inaugural NRL Auckland Nines this weekend, with coach Paul Green deciding to rest most of his star names from the tournament.
The full make-up of the Cowboys 16-man squad will not be known until Tuesday but Green told the media after Saturday night’s trial victory against Brisbane that JT would not be travelling to Auckland.
“I’ll be giving most of the top-liners a rest,” Green said.
“They’ve had a pretty big year last year so I’m just trying to keep them fresh and get them looking forward to the season coming up.
“I think Jimmy Tamou will play but the rest of them (the Kangaroos representatives) won’t.”
New signing Lachlan Coote has been told he will be part of the 16-man squad that will leave Townsville on Wednesday morning.
“I wasn’t sure if I was playing or not, but now that I know that I’m playing I’m pretty keen to have a run,” Coote said.
“It should be interesting. It’s the first Nines comp I’ve ever played in so I’m looking forward to it.”