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JT crowned Sports Dad of the Year

He's won two premierships, four Dally M's and three Golden Boots as the world's best player and now retiring NRL great Johnathan Thurston can add Philips Sports Dad of the Year to his impressive list of achievements.

The North Queensland Cowboys star is this year's winner after polling a whopping 25 per cent of votes to beat out the likes of NRL colleagues Benji Marshall, Paul Gallen, George Burgess, James Maloney, Sam Thaiday and David Klemmer, AFL superstars Trent Cotchin and Josh Kennedy and Wallabies half Will Genia.

"I'm very proud and honoured to win this award," the Cowboys captain and father of girls Frankie, Charlie and Lillie said.

"I'd like to thank everyone who supported me and all the other dads. There are lots of great dads out there and I wish everyone a happy Father's Day."

Besides winning the title, JT will donate his $5000 prize to the Mark Hughes Foundation.

"I've had a long association with the Mark Hughes Foundation and they are doing some wonderful things in the research for brain cancer," JT said. "Mark was diagnosed with brain cancer a while ago and I have no doubt the $5000 will go a way to help this research find a cure."

Anyone who saw JT's farewell game in Townsville last weekend would know how much his family means to him, and why he's a worthy winner of the competition, which is now in its 10th year.

"To be able to share that experience with the girls running out with my wife, my mum and my family and friends who travelled up from Brisbane ... it was quite a surreal experience and a moment I will never forget," JT said of his Townsville farewell.

"I'm really looking forward to spending time with my wife Samantha and girls in retirement.

"Playing rugby league you sacrifice a lot with the family. You're away a lot, you miss birthdays, first steps, crawling, their first words be able to spend more time with the girls and have more of an influence as they grow up is something I'm really looking forward to.

"The girls are just a bundle of joy, especially at night when you're doing the night time routine of dinner, bath, bed time stories. Reading the girls stories each night is something I really enjoy.

"And when I get a chance to pick them up from school ... they haven't seen you all day and seeing the big smiles on their faces is quite a joyful experience for me."

But JT, being the ultimate team man that he is, isn't taking all the credit for his win, heaping praise on Samantha.

"She's the glue for this family, I don't know how she does it ... she just keeps everything going," JT said.

"She's the rock in my life, she deserves a medal. She's caring she's loving, she's generous and I'm glad I can call her my wife because I'd be lost without her."
And, in the ultimate Father's Day present, JT announced during the week via his Instagram account he was about to become a father again, with Samantha expecting the couple's fourth child
in late February.

"I think Samantha was thinking I might get a bit bored in retirement, so here's another baby!" JT said breaking into his trademark laugh.

"I'm super excited ... I'm pumped about it and there should be fun times ahead."

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.