Toyota Cowboys co-captain Johnathan Thurston says he has been blessed to have the career he is enjoying in rugby league as he prepares for yet another career milestone this weekend.
The 31-year-old will become only the fourth Cowboy to play 200 NRL matches when he runs out on to 1300SMILES Stadium against the Sydney Roosters in round 10 of the 2014 premiership.
It adds to a list of achievements that includes eight State of Origin series victories, World Cup success with the Kangaroos, two Dally M Medals, two Golden Boots as international player of the year, pointscoring records for the Cowboys, Queensland and Australia, and a premiership win with the Bulldogs.
Thurston reaches the 200-game mark in his 10th season with the Cowboys and, if he stays injury-free, could go close to reaching Matthew Bowen’s club record of 270 matches.
“I came to the club as a 21-year-old, very raw and no doubt this club has helped shape me into who I am today,” JT said.
“It’s been a big part of my life and my family’s life.
“I came here for an opportunity to play in the halves week-in, week-out.
“All these years on, I’ve achieved quite a lot in the game.
"I’ve been very lucky and blessed in that sense.
“Part of the reason I re-signed with the club last year was to get to 200 games and we have some other unfinished business here as well.”
Like coach Paul Green on Tuesday, Thurston doesn’t see the 200-game milestone game as being a special reason for the Cowboys to be motivated to beat the Roosters.
“When you’re getting motivated by those outside things you tend to lose focus on what you need to do,” JT said.
“It’s just business as usual and we need the boys from 1 to 17 to do a job out there on Saturday night, stay focused and play the game for the right reasons.”