The Sunday Mail (Queensland)




HE HAS your over­whelm­ing vote as the great­est player in the game and your favourite Ma­roon, but he’s not Queens­land’s next Im­mor

tal. Johnathan Thurston has scored a land­slide 70.1 per cent of the vote as the best player in the game af­ter a News Corp sur­vey of more than 5500 fans.

Four out of 10 read­ers have also voted Thurston their favourite Queens­lan­der. And the Cowboys skip­per ranked sec­ond in the tough­est player cat­e­gory, won by Paul Gallen.

JT’s Cowboys were be­hind only the Roost­ers in the views of who would win this year’s NRL ti­tle.

But Dar­ren­ren Lock­yer, who re­tired four years ago, emerged as the pick to be the next Queens­land Im­mor­tal.

Thurston, who is chas­ing a fourth Dally M medal, was well placed when vot­ing was no longer made public.

Jar­ryd Hayne’s early progress in the NFL led 55.8 per cent of re­spon­dents to say they reck­oned more NRL play­ers would try their luck in Amer­i­can football.

There was a strik­ing vote of con­fi­dence in Bronco Ben Hunt to be­come Queens­land’s next play­maker, and a stern re­minder to six-game Ma­roon Daly Cherry-Evans that he has not been for­given by many for back­flip­ping on the Ti­tans.

Asked who the next Queens­land half­back would be, couri­ermail read­ers pre­ferred Hunt (65 per cent) to Cherry-Evans (18.4).

Hunt, 25, was pre­ferred as the next man to be picked for the Queens­land Ori­gin side by 51.6 per cent, ahead of club­mate An­thony Mil­ford (20.7) .

The gong for most dis­liked player in the NRL went to Blues skip­per Gallen (18), ahead of re­tir­ing Ma­roon Justin Hodges (17.3). Fans Aus­tralia-wide rated Mil­ford (32.9 per cent) the best NRL player aged 21 or un­der, ahead of Pan­ther Bryce Cartwright (18.4).

A to­tal of 55.5 per cent said they were sur­prised at how well the Bron­cos had done this year while 58.7 per cent said North Queens­land had the qual­ity of young play­ers to win the ti­tle in years to come.

Asked what strat­egy they would sup­port if Billy Slater and Inglis were both fit for Ori­gin next year, 51.6 per cent ad­vo­cated for Slater at full­back and Inglis in the cen­tres.

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