Foran says our man JT should be an Immortal
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.”