Cowboys packing high hopes for blockbuster
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