In­jured Thurston to re­ceive Ori­gin farewell hon­our

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - TRAVIS MEYN

JOHNATHAN Thurston will be given a Sun­corp Sta­dium farewell but there will be no lap of hon­our in front of 52,500 ador­ing Queens­land fans.

Thurston ( right) will be hon­oured at a pre- match pre­sen­ta­tion at Wed­nes­day’s State of Ori­gin de­cider.

The game was sup­posed to be Thurston’s farewell from the Ori­gin arena after he made the de­ci­sion to re­tire from rep­re­sen­ta­tive foot­ball this year.

But the Ma­roons leg­end’s sea­son- end­ing shoul­der in­jury in Game Two of the se­ries a fort­night ago in­stead will make him a spec­ta­tor.

Thurston, 34, will be in­ter­viewed be­fore the game starts and there is spec­u­la­tion for­mer Pow­derfin­ger front­man Bernard Fan­ning could ded­i­cate a song to him.

The 37- Ori­gin vet­eran is re­luc­tant to make the match about him and will re­treat back to the Ma­roons dress­in­grooms be­fore kick- off.

“There is a lot of at­ten­tion on it and rightly so,” Ma­roons half­back Cooper Cronk said.

“Johnathan has been one of the great­est con­trib­u­tors to Ori­gin foot­ball that the game has ever seen. He de­serves to have a lit­tle bit of a mo­ment and cel­e­bra­tion for him.”

Queens­land coach Kevin Wal­ters has in­vited Thurston to join Camp Ma­roon on the Gold Coast from Satur­day to help the team pre­pare.

Cap­tain Cameron Smith said he hoped Thurston would take up the in­vi­ta­tion de­spite his re­luc­tance.

“It’s re­ally un­for­tu­nate the way it’s panned out for John,” Smith said. “He didn’t de­serve to fin­ish his ca­reer that way. I was shat­tered for him. I know all the boys feel the same.

“Johnno doesn’t want any of us think­ing about him not be­ing here. He wants us to pre­pare well, play well and hope­fully get a vic­tory.

“There is no doubt there will be a lit­tle bit of emo­tion around Johnno’s ab­sence and this would have been his last game but us­ing too much emo­tion could have a neg­a­tive ef­fect on the team.

“Johnno said him­self he doesn’t re­ally want to be a bur­den on the team.”

While his Ori­gin ca­reer is over, Thurston has cho­sen to sign on with the Cow­boys for a fi­nal NRL sea­son in 2018.

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