JT played a major role in our victory
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.