The night Thurston got eaten alive
COMETH THE HOUR, cometh the man, and Johnathan Thurston never failed to deliver on the hour, as the Broncos will testify after JT landed the knockout blow in their epic semi-final in Townsville.
But against the premiership-starved Sharks, Thurston got gobbled up.
He played as though he had two left feet. Such easy prey.
Has a player of his quality – and there have been few – ever been so innocuous? Had you invited someone from overseas to the game and told them they’d see the world’s best player weave his magic, you would probably have had to refund their money.
What went wrong? What went so terribly wrong?
Surely Thurston wasn’t overawed by the crowd of 36,000 monopolised by black, blue and white.
For the first 25 minutes he didn’t handle the football. When he did, he looked lost. Everything about his game was sub-zero except for his effort.
Where were the uncanny flick passes, the acceleration, the direction from close to the rucks, the sweeping passes and at least one decent chip kick?
But of course, Thurston remains a giant of the game. Name me one player from any era who has better control of the football. It’s as though it’s part of his body!
Never bag a champion, and JT is a champion from head to toe.
It’s just that I was bitterly disappointed with his performance last Friday night. And I’m sure countless fans – regardless of their club allegiance – would have felt likewise.
So much of Thurston’s game is elementary. But he executes the elementary facets of football with so much precision, pace and purpose.
Poise should be his middle name.