KING CALL

Fo­ran says our man JT should be an Im­mor­tal

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - DEAN RITCHIE

MANLY five- eighth Kieran Fo­ran wants North Queens­land’s Johnathan Thurston to be named a rugby league Im­mor­tal.

It’s some­thing rarely seen; a star player talk­ing up an op­po­nent just days be­fore they square off in­di­vid­u­ally.

But while Fo­ran will be do­ing his all to stop Thurston’s in­flu­ence when Manly host the Cowboys at Brook­vale Oval on Mon­day night, he also has the ut­most re­spect for his great op­po­nent.

“I think he is ar­guably the best player in the game to­day – I think he has been for some time now,” Fo­ran said.

“I’ve got no doubt he will fin­ish his ca­reer as an Im­mor­tal. It is an amaz­ing and big chal­lenge ev­ery time you come up against him.

“In my opin­ion, he has been some­one you try and model your game on.

“He is some­one who con­tin­u­ally turns up and pro­duces in the big games and the big times. You al­ways see it as a mas­sive test.

“Ev­ery time you come up against some­one like JT you want to try and chal­lenge your­self against the best. And, like I said, he is the best.”

Manly play­ers know Thurston could just about kill off their sea­son with a win on Mon­day night.

The Sea Ea­gles can only af­ford to drop one game, maybe two, if they want to play fi­nals footy for an 11th suc­ces­sive sea­son.

“He is ar­guably the best player in the world,” said Sea Ea­gles for­ward Wil­lie Ma­son. “He is in un­be­liev­able form. “The last cou­ple of years, he has re­ally so­lid­i­fied where he’s at. Joey ( An­drew Johns), Bedsy ( Danny Buderus) and him. “My top three. “Dif­fer­ent skills, they are un­be­liev­able.

The last few years, he ( Thurston) has stamped his foot down as the num­ber one player in the game.

“Thurston puts his body on the line all the time.

“I have noth­ing but praise for him. You just have to sit back and ap­plaud.”

Asked could Thurston over­take Johns as the great­est, Ma­son said: “He needs to cap­tain North Queens­land to a premier­ship for him to pip Joey.”

Sea Ea­gles half­back Daly Cherry- Evans added: “Bet­ting agen­cies are al­ready pay­ing him ( Thurston) out on the Dally M Medal so I think that sums up how good a year he has had so far. He is a pretty spe­cial player.”

Manly full­back Brett Stewart gave an in­sight into why Thurston has been such a won­der­ful player.

“He just plays off- the- cuff. A lot of the teams these days are struc­tured and when­ever they fall out of that struc­ture, things go out the win­dow,” said Stewart.

“Thursto’ plays what he sees. The blokes around him seem to jump on board, they’d be silly not to be­cause he is just so smart with the ball in his hand.

“In my time, he has been one of the best, for sure.”

Manly skip­per Jamie Lyon added: “He is right up there, a great player, he’s been around a long time. He seems to do it week in, week out.”

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