Injured Thurston to receive Origin farewell honour
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.