Toyota Cowboys coach Paul Green says he is yet to decide if three-time Dally M Medal winner Johnathan Thurston will be part of North Queensland’s NRL Auckland Nines squad later this month.
JT says he would he like to be involved after missing out last year, but the coach is wary of overusing the champion halfback who is already locked in to captain the Indigenous All Stars against the NRL All Stars on 13 February and will play in at least one of the Cowboys’ two pre-season trials.
“We’ll see how he is when it gets a bit closer,” Green said today about his co-captain’s chances of playing in Auckland.
“I won’t be taking any unnecessary risks.
“The Nines is a great event, a really good weekend, but our main focus is the NRL season.”
In his first media conference for 2015, Green praised the Cowboys squad for how they had looked after their fitness during the Christmas-New Year break, adding they were ahead of where they were at the same stage of last pre-season.
“We’re in a good position at this stage,” he said.
“Having longer to prepare as a whole group has certainly helped, physically we’re in better condition but I suppose nearly every club says that at this time of year.”
The coach said there was a “fair bit of competition” underway for a number of spots in his round one squad against the Sydney Roosters at 1300SMILES Stadium on 7 March.
“That’s healthy for the team. It’s forcing those guys to make sure that every time they’re out on the training paddock, they’re improving.
“That can only be good for us as a club and a team.”