JT: THE TRUTH
Bulldogs sex scandal: What really happened Footy saved me from petty crime Greatest triumph
JOHNATHAN Thurston has revealed football saved him from a life of crime, and he’s lifted the lid on the infamous Bulldogs Coffs Harbour rape investigation.
In an explosive new autobiography, the retired legend has detailed how he was “breaking into cars and stealing lawnmowers and whipper-snippers” at age 13, before getting back on the rails with the help of football, a turnaround he hopes can inspire today’s children.
Thurston has also become the first player to speak out about the 2004 rape investigation into Bulldogs players.
Describing the episode as “all pain, hurt and ugly”, Thurston detailed what he saw on the night and revealed he believes the woman made the allegations out of anger after some players reduced her to tears.
HE was the teenage petty thief who became rugby league’s greatest role model.
In a post-career bombshell that will give every delinquent hope, Johnathan Thurston has revealed rugby league saved him from a life a crime.
“I was heading down the wrong path,’’ Thurston said.
“From the age of about 13, I was breaking into cars and stealing lawnmowers and whipper-snippers. I don’t know where I would be if it wasn’t for the opportunity I got to play rugby league.’’
That is just one of the revelations made by the future NRL immortal in Johnathan Thurston – The Autobiography.
In the book, to be released tomorrow, the North Queensland Cowboys great writes about everything from his golden-point premiershipwinning field goal in 2015 to seeing his future wife, then a Cowboys employee, Samantha in secret for fear she would be sacked for fraternisation.
Thurston will also become the first NRL player to publicly speak about the Coffs Harbour Bulldogs rape investigation.
“I decided this book had to be open and honest,’’ Thurston said. “There was no point doing it if I wasn’t going to speak about things like Coffs Harbour.’’
Thurston also goes into detail about some of rugby league’s greatest moments, including the untold stories that helped the Queensland Maroons build a State of Origin dynasty.
The retired Queensland legend revealed he was too embarrassed to go out in public this year because he feared his final season form would ruin his legacy.
“I was hoping to finish with a fairytale,’’ Thurston wrote in his autobiography.
“I wanted to hoist the Provan-Summons trophy into the night air. I wanted to do a victory lap with my mates. I wanted to find my wife – ANZ Stadium a sea of blue, yellow and white – and kiss her before hugging my girls: Frankie, Charlie and Lillie.
“I wanted to end my career with a premiership, a kiss, and d three hugs – but for me, there was no fairytale finish. My final season in the NRL ended up being one of the most difficult years in my 17 NRL sea- sons.
“I didn’t go out in public – unless completely necessary – since the celebrations that followed my 300th game. I had been hiding at home, too embarrassed by my personal performances to walk out the front door.’’
But it is the incredible story of how he walked away from a life of crime to become a rugby league role model that will inspire generation next.
Thurston was selling stolen lawnmowers for $120 as a 13-year-old in Brisbane.
The recently retired halfback made a vow to change his life when he was 15 and moved to a boarding school in Toowoomba to chase his rugby league dream.
“It will be worth telling my story if I can help just one kid,’’ Thurston said.
“I am not proud of my past but I am proud that I was able to change my life and make something of it.’’
ROLE MODEL: Johnathan Thurston wants to inspire young kids in danger of going off the rails; (inset) his autobiography; happy and enjoying life with his wife and children; and cradling his brother Shane.