Remember this feeling – Thurston
One of only three Queensland Maroons to have experienced a losing State of Origin series before this year, Cowboys co-captain Johnathan Thurston has urged his 2014 teammates not to forget the feelings of disappointment.
Nine years ago, NSW clinched their third straight series with a 2-1 victory, leaving Thurston, then only 22 years old, wondering if new coach Mal Meninga would select him in 2006.
Now he is about to become just the eighth player in history to notch up 30 Origin appearances when he lines up for Queensland on Wednesday night, having won eight series in a row until this year.
Thurston revealed this week that much of his pride on hitting the mark came from early fears that his debut series would also be his last.
"Thirty games is something that I take a great deal of pride in and I think a fair bit of that comes from the fact I was part of a losing side in that first series and I genuinely wondered whether or not I would get another go," the Maroons playmaker said.
Captain Cameron Smith and Corey Parker were the only other current Maroons to have previously experienced the bitter taste of series defeat.
"We have said to the rest of the guys here, 'remember this feeling'," Thurston said. "I know I haven't forgotten what it was like in '05.
"I wasn't really keen on having to deal with it again, but NSW deserves their win.
"But at the same time, it will be on again in 12 months' time and I would like to think this feeling we have will be a spur for us all."
Also set to be remembered as one of Origin's most influential players, Thurston has been kept well in check by the Blues' defence this year.
Meninga expects the return of halfback Cooper Cronk will free up the Cowboys co- captain to play his natural game.
With Cronk missing from the last 150 minutes of this year's series, Queensland have crossed for just one try.
Thurston also admitted Jarryd Hayne had lowered his colours by targeting his defence on the Maroons' right side, highlighted by NSW's two first-half tries in game one.
"Hayne has definitely been spotting me," he said.
"He did it when the Cowboys played the Eels too and I guess in the first game especially he probably caught me off guard a little.
"I thought we controlled his influence a lot better in game two, but the fact is he got the result.
"I do think our attack has been a bit off. We have a pair of centres in Hodgo [Justin Hodges] and GI [Greg Inglis], who can do plenty of damage if we give them the ball with the time and space they need.
"That probably hasn't happened."