But Thurston doesn’t see Cronk duel as Test audition
AS far as Johnathan Thurston is concerned, Monday night is not an audition for the Australian halfback jumper.
Thurston will pit his skills against Melbourne’s i n-f orm Test No. 7 Cooper Cronk in one of round three of the NRL season’s most highlyanticipated individual clashes, one that will have a major say in whether the Cowboys put a lacklustre per- formance against the Knights behind them.
A superior playmaking performa n c e a g a i n s t C r o n k wi l l g i v e Thurston’s chances of regaining the coveted green and gold spot serious clout.
But, just two rounds into the season, it’s already obvious that getting an edge over Melbourne’s halfback is one of the toughest tasks in Australian rugby league.
‘‘ It’s going to be a good challenge, he’s the incumbent halfback for Australia so it’s going to be a good test for myself and certainly for our back three because he’s got a great kicking game,’’ Thurston said.
‘‘ We need to complete and hold the ball, otherwise if they ( Melbourne) get 60-40 percent of possession, or 55-45, then they’ll really hurt us.
‘‘ It’s not hard ( to complete), we’ve just got to concentrate and hold the ball.’’
As for his individual duel with Cronk having a bearing on who lines up for Australia against New Zealand in May, Thurston said he would concentrate on Kangaroos duty when the timing was better.
‘‘ That’s pretty much the furthest thing from my mind, I’m just concentrating on what I need to do for the team so we can put our best foot forward and make sure the squad is prepared and ready to go,’’ Thurston said. ‘‘ The Storm are on fire, they have been for a number of years now so it’s going to be tough.’’
Spectators were seen leaving Dairy Farmers Stadium near the end of last week’s match, wondering whether their team had left something in the sheds apart from an obvious lack of concentration.
‘‘ It was just a bit of attitude and intensity, we didn’t have much ball in the first half and so forth,’’ Thurston explained.
‘‘ It made it very difficult for us so everyone needs to turn up with the right attitude this week otherwise the Storm will towel us up.’’