Kevvie leaves JT door open
QUEENSLAND coach Kevin Walters has appealed for the Cowboys to support Johnathan Thurston should the Maroons maestro seek an Allan Langer- style Origin comeback.
Walters said he would have no hesitation picking Thurston in 2018 after the Cowboys champion flagged the possibility of a fairytale Origin return in what shapes as his final season in rugby league.
Thurston’s shoulder injury has cruelled his dream of an Origin finale this Wednesday night and the 37- game legend will instead have to settle for a special presentation in the Suncorp decider.
However, Walters believes Thurston may yet have a change of heart with the injured Maroons ace saying last week: “If I got the call from the coach ( Walters), I would probably consider it ( an Origin return).”
Three legends of the code have previously resurrected their Origin careers.
In 2001, Langer returned from England to inspire Queensland’s series win, while NSW greats Brad Fittler ( 2004) and Andrew Johns ( 2005) both came out of representative retirement to help the Blues.
With Maroons halfback Cooper Cronk expected to retire at season’s end, Walters is relishing the prospect of a Thurston comeback and urged North Queensland to give him the green light.
“I hope the Cowboys would support ‘ JT’ playing again,” Walters said.
“I doubt they would stop him unless they have some sort of agreement, but Paul Green ( Cowboys coach) is a smart fella and he is passionate about Queensland too.
“I won’t be shutting the door on him.
“We may not have Cooper Cronk next year so it would be a wonderful boost to have JT available next year.
“If John wants one more season with Queensland, I will certainly be picking him.”
Thurston’s final contract with the Cowboys contains no clauses precluding him from playing representative football next year.
However, when the parties met to finalise the 12- month extension six weeks ago, there was an informal agreement that Thurston would not play for Queensland or Australia in 2018.
“All our discussions with Johnathan and his manager in regards to his contract for next year was done on the basis he would not be playing representative football,” Cowboys football operations chief Peter Parr said.
“At this point in time nothing has changed in regards to those conversations.”