Johnathan Thurston slots a conversion during the Cowboys' Round 20 win over the Bulldogs. Credit: Robb Cox. Copyright: NRL Photos.

Johnathan Thurston is the most popular player in the NRL with Australian footy fans in 2014, receiving the Provan Summons People's Choice Medal for the first time in his career.

One of the great ambassadors the game currently boasts, Thurston's example whether in his competitiveness on the field or the simple act of handing the kicking tee back to the ball boy after each shot at goal is one that many players have subsequently followed and the game is better for his presence.

It's rare that a player so widely regarded for his talents can be so engaging and accommodating with fans but the best laugh in rugby league is the complete performer across 80 minutes, in the media and also in the North Queensland community in particular.

What's not to love?

First published on NRL.com