JT played a ma­jor role in our vic­tory

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT -

OUR Ori­gin III per­for­mance was quite pleas­ing, but for me the high­light of the night came af­ter­wards when Cameron Smith in­vited Johnathan Thurston on stage to help raise the shield.

Those guys were there when our dy­nasty started and I re­mem­ber go­ing to school and be­ing stoked af­ter a win. I looked up to those guys a lot.

Al­though he couldn’t play with his shoul­der in­jury which would have made his Ori­gin swan song a bit­ter sweet ex­pe­ri­ence, every­one knows how im­por­tant the team is to him.

As a to­tally new left edge on Wed­nes­day night he was one of our se­cret weapons to help get our­selves click­ing de­fen­sively.

At train­ing he’d be be­hind us telling us how we were work­ing, and looking from his point of view.

I was play­ing my first top flight game at cen­tre and the first time I’ve had to forge a com­bi­na­tion with winger Valen­tine Holmes and debu­tant five- eighth Cameron Mun­ster.

It cer­tainly didn’t start as well from our first ses­sion but af­ter that we did video and made sure we were on the same page.

They had a fair few shots on our edge through Josh Du­gan and we han­dled it pretty well.

I didn’t give Cameron Mun­ster too many tips. There’s a lot of good play­ers and lead­ers there and that gave him con­fi­dence know­ing what he can do.

It was also sat­is­fy­ing to prove a few peo­ple wrong af­ter we were writ­ten off a lot dur­ing the se­ries, and es­pe­cially Game Three.

We’ve had a lot of changes to the team in key po­si­tions through­out the se­ries while the Blues have played the same 17 in ev­ery game.

It does make it a bit more sat­is­fy­ing but we have great lead­ers in the team who drive that stuff.

Our coach, Kevvie Wal­ters, is great at making the young play­ers who come into camp feel at ease in what can be an over­whelm­ing en­vi­ron­ment given the huge ex­po­sure Ori­gin at­tracts.

He’s a known lar­rikin and if some­one’s feel­ing tense at times he will crack a joke and Steve Wal­ters, his brother who is our foot­ball man­ager, is also good at that.

He knows how to lighten the mood and it takes the se­ri­ous­ness out of it.

There’s such a big buildup in Ori­gin and it’s im­por­tant to have guys like that who can re­lax the young guys.

It re­ally helps them so that they’re not be­ing over­awed by it.

JT won’t be play­ing for the Cow­boys for the rest of the year but it was fit­ting he was given one last send off for what he’s been able to do in the ma­roon jer­sey.

FIT­TING SEND- OFF: Re­tir­ing Ma­roons leg­end Johnathan Thurston is chaired off by Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk af­ter their State of Ori­gin se­ries win on Wed­nes­day night.

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