North Queensland Toyota Cowboys co-captain Johnathan Thurston is hoping to add to his list of memorable Cowboys moments when he plays his 250th game for the club against the Broncos at 1300SMILES Stadium on Friday night.
Thurston, 33, is in line to reach the milestone against the very team he played in his first National Rugby League game as a Cowboy.
The four-time Dally M and Paul Bowman Medallist will join fellow Cowboys life member Matt Bowen as members of the 250-game club.
Bowen, who retired from the NRL in 2013, is the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys’ games record holder with 270.
JOHNATHAN THURSTON: THE CHAMPION COWBOY
- Born: 25 April 1983
- Position: Halfback
- Cowboys games: 249
- Cowboys debut: Round 1, 2005 (13 March) v Broncos
- Tries: 74
- Goals: 769 from 973 attempts (79%)
- Field goals: 14
- Most tries in a season: 11 (2006, 2009, 2014)
- Best goalkicking year: 2010 (43 goals from 50 attempts – 86%)
- Captaincy: 2015 Premiership-winning co-captain; captain since 2007; co-captain with Matt Scott since 2011
- Paul Bowman Medallist 2005, 20012, 2014-15
- Players’ Player of the Year 2011, 2014
- Club Person of the Year 2012
Reflecting upon his career, Thurston said he can remember his first game in Cowboys colours.
“It was a Sunday afternoon is Brisbane. We were well beaten (29-16),” Thurston said.
“It wasn’t a memorable afternoon for me, but there’s been some good ones since.”
Ever humble, Thurston went on to lead the Cowboys to seven finals series, including two grand finals – in 2005 and in 2015 when the Cowboys won the NRL Premiership – and countless memorable victories.
“The premiership last year was obviously a memorable one,” Thurston said.
“Then there was a 2005 prelim against the Eels. It was a memorable afternoon down there. No one gave us a hope in hell of winning that one and we ended up smashing them (29-0).
“In my 150th for the club – and Aaron Payne and Luke O’Donnell were playing their 100th – we finished the game with no one left on the bench. We ended up getting the two points. We faced a lot of adversity that night but got the job done.”
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS
Thurston said he was looking forward to running out in front of a sold-out venue on Friday, with 25,000 members and fans expected.
“Yeah, it’s going to be a great occasion, it’s sold out; the fans love it, the league loves it,” he said.
“The fans love it because we let our footy do the talking and there’ll be a lot of action on the field for sure.”
MOTIVATION THESE DAYS
“For me it’s just about not letting my teammates down. I respect them that much, they’re like family. Making sure I don’t let them down in a game. They’re the ones motivating me. The fear of failing and letting them down there is what drives me.”