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Champion Cowboy Johnathan Thurston will see out his career at the club in which he has tasted most of his success as a rugby league superstar after agreeing to a one-year contract extension.

Thurston said he had no intention of finishing his playing days at anywhere other than the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys, with the new deal formally unveiled at the club’s mid-year gala tonight.

“It’s a real joy to be able to say I’ll be continuing on with the Cowboys in NRL season 2018,” Thurston said.

“This club has given me so much over my 13 years here. I’ve played alongside some great talents, worked with amazing people and shared in phenomenal successes.

“It’s been a real privilege to be associated with the North Queensland Cowboys and now that the deal is done, I can concentrate on my footy and helping my teammates on and off the field.”

Cowboys head coach Paul Green said Thurston’s playing record and achievements spoke for themselves, but the fourth-year mentor said he was most pleased with how one of the game’s best players continually strove for improvement in life and in football.

“Johnathan’s a class act, is one of the fiercest competitors I’ve seen play rugby league and to have him see out his career here is wonderful news and a credit to all involved,” Green said.

“He’s developed into a true leader in that he leads by example. He’s always a pleasure to coach and he’s a true mentor for our younger guys coming through.”

Thurston, 34, linked with the Cowboys in 2005 after a successful three-year stint at the Canterbury Bulldogs, where he won a premiership in his final year there.

It would be back-to-back National Rugby League grand finals for the Brisbane junior as he helped the Cowboys to the final game of the year in 2005.

Thurston continued to shine at the club and was made captain in 2007 as the club became regular finals participants over the next decade.

During his time at the Cowboys, Thurston established himself at State of Origin and Test level, while continuing to represent the Cowboys and the North Queensland community proudly.

The team’s crowning achievement would come in the 2015 season as Thurston booted home that winning field goal to secure an epic golden-point extra-time victory over the Brisbane Broncos.

Of Thurston, Cowboys General Manager – Football Peter Parr said: “The Cowboys are overall a better club because of Johnathan Thurston’s long association.

“He came here for any opportunity to play regular first grade, which he received, and he’s given that faith back many times over.

“We’re thrilled he’s to remain a Cowboy into next season.”

Cowboys CEO Greg Tonner said Thurston’s retention was a boost for all of North Queensland.

“We’re such a passionate region; our members and fans show true passion, resilience and comradeship. There’s no better embodiment of those traits than Johnathan Thurston,” Tonner said.

“The skies over North Queensland will seem even brighter with this fantastic news.”

Thurston will continue his rehabilitation from injury as he looks to return to the field to help his team in the 2017 NRL season. 


  • Age: 34
  • Height: 179cm 
  • Weight: 87kg 
  • Position: Halfback/Five-eighth 
  • NRL debut: Round 13, 2002 v Penrith
  • Cowboys debut: Round 1, 2005 v Brisbane 
  • NRL games: 298
  • Cowboys games: 269 
  • Clubs: Canterbury Bulldogs 2002-2004; North Queensland Cowboys 2005-current
  • Signed until end of 2018 season
  • Premierships: 2 (Bulldogs 2005, Cowboys 2015) 
  • Rep honours: 36 State of Origin matches for Queensland; 39 Tests for Australia; 2 Prime Minister’s XIII matches; 6 matches for Indigenous All Stars 
  • Cowboys honours; Paul Bowman Medallist (2005, 2012, 2014-15); Players’ Players of the Year (2011, 2014; Club Person of the Year (2012) 
  • Game honours: Dally M Medallist (2005, 2007, 2014-15; Golden Boot winner (2011, 2013, 2015); RLPA Player of the Year (2005, 2013-15); Ken Stephen Medal (2012)

Johnathan Thurston profile

Acknowledgement of Country

North Queensland Cowboys respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.