Cow­boys pack­ing high hopes for block­buster

Townsville Bulletin - - NRL - by Michael Thompson michael. thompson@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

C O W B O Y S h a l f b a c k Johnathan Thurston hur­ried into Townsville Air­port yes­ter­day car­ry­ing more bag­gage than usual.

But the bag­gage of be­ing his team’s ma­jor at­tack­ing weapon could be about to get lighter.

With newly named fiveeighth Ray Thompson by his side, Thurston may have a man to pro­vide more pres­sure in at­tack and flex­i­bil­ity on the Cow­boys’ fifth-play op­tions.

Add new co-cap­tain Matt Scott to the mix and the pres­sure could well and truly ease up for Thurston in 2011.

‘‘ We’ll just bounce off each other, it’ll be good to have some­one along­side me to ma k e s o me d e c i s i o n s , ’ ’ Thurston said of the co­cap­taincy.

T h e C o w b o y s s t a r play­maker said his fledg­ling hal v e s p a r t ner s hi p wit h Thompson had the po­ten­tial for suc­cess so long as their train­ing form was re­peated on game day.

‘‘ We’ve played a cou­ple of good games to­gether now and we’ve done a lot of work to­gether so now we just need to put that work on to the pad­dock,’’ Thurston said.

‘‘ Hope­fully we can get a few good games un­der our belt and keep im­prov­ing as the sea­son goes on.’’

Ar­riv­ing at the air­port in the same car as Wil­lie Tonga, Thurston t o wed he a nd Tonga’s bags to the check-in counter while his team­mate scouted for a park.

Tonga, fol­low­ing his hasty e nt r y , s a i d he wouldn’t un­der­es­ti­mate the rel­a­tively i n e x p e r i e n c e d B r i s b a n e b a c k l i n e , i n rookie cen­tre Jack Reed.

‘‘ Ev­ery year they seem to bring up new tal­ent and they just come out of nowhere and I t h i n k h a v i n g L o c k y ( Dar­ren Lock­yer) and ( Peter) Wal­lace there still, they’ll be in good stead,’’ Tonga said.

‘‘ I’m sure I’m go­ing to have my hands full so I’ll be ready for that.’’

Thurston said Lock­yer and Wal­lace would no doubt pose the big­gest threat to the Cow­boys.

‘‘ Those two blokes pretty much con­trol the whole side so they just need to do their job and no doubt Lock­yer and Wally will guide them around the park,’’ he said.

‘‘ We need to be wary of them that’s for sure.’’

Thurston kept prais­ing his op­po­site num­ber, talk­ing up Wal­lace’s all-round game.

‘‘ He’s got a great kick­ing game, pass­ing game and he’s got good vi­sion, he takes the line on as well and he’s p r e t t y s t r o n g d e f e n c e , ’ ’ Thurston said.

‘ ‘ He’s got all t he good qual­i­ties of a half­back.’’

T h e i mpor t a n c e o f t o - mor­row’s game is cer­tainly not lost on Thurston but he’s not about to place all his hopes for the year on it.

‘‘ We’d al­ways like to win ev­ery game but we just want to make sure that we play well and gi ve our­selves ev­ery chance of win­ning the game,’’ Thurston said.

‘‘ If we just try and be a hard team to beat hope­fully all the lit­tle things will go right and we’ll get a win.’’

As for run­ning on in front o f a c a p a c i t y S u n c o r p Sta­dium crowd crav­ing the re­turn of big time footy, Thurston said: ‘‘ That’s why you the play game don’t you? ‘‘ Ev­ery­one looks for­ward to this game from both sides – 50,000 fans, yeah.’’ p a r t i c u l a r coun­ter­part

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