Stadium must be the first to honour our JT
JOHNATHAN Thurston’s contribution to rugby league will ensure he is one day named one of the sport’s Immortals.
But his efforts in building the success of the North Queensland Cowboys over the past decade or more have arguably been even more profound.
Queensland powerbrokers are rightly considering how to properly recognise JT’s efforts in the State of Origin arena, with his contribution vital to the Maroons’ dominance of the NRL showcase during the past decade or more.
The last Queensland legend of JT’s stature – Broncos and Australian captain Darren Lockyer – was only retired for six months when his statue was unveiled at Suncorp Stadium.
Given Townsville’s new CBD stadium is set to be open in March 2020, it is not unreasonable to begin talking about commissioning a statue for the North Queensland hero this year.
Thurston’s Origin career is over and he looks set to hang up the boots after one more season with the Cowboys next year.
Nobody would want to deny Thurston’s place among the all- time Origin greats such as Wally Lewis, Arthur Beetson, Mal Meninga and Lockyer, but it is arguable that rushing such a move in Brisbane would likely delay or even stop such a tribute being unveiled in Townsville.
It is good to see Townsville leaders taking up the fight to ensure this happens.
Most Cowboys fans would agree that immortalising Thurston in bronze outside the stadium he helped get built – with his famous post- grand final speech in 2015 – would be appropriate.
It would be fitting that the image captured in bronze would be the now infamous drop- goal that sealed the Cowboys’ historic premiership, with the ball horizontal to the ground as Thurston’s boot swept through to wobble the kick over the crossbar and send the 2015 squad into the history books.
If the state backs the Townsville plan, it might mean a statue of another legend – Allan Langer – can finally be made.