Cow­boys great meets and greets lo­cals

Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE -

JUST days af­ter be­ing named the best player in the world, Johnathan Thurston vis­ited Proser­pine State High School to spread the gospel of rugby league.

The North Queens­land Cow­boys skip­per and fu­ture NRL im­mor­tal fronted stu­dents on Tues­day morn­ing, an­swer­ing ques­tions and sign­ing au­to­graphs.

The 2015 Golden Boot win­ner said it was im­por­tant to hit the road and visit the re­gional com­mu­ni­ties to cover the team’s “huge foot­print”.

“We understand a lot of our mem­bers travel afar to watch and sup­port us,” he said.

“A great ex­am­ple was when we brought the tro­phy back (to Townsville).

“There were 15,000 in the sta­dium on a Mon­day,” Thurston said.

“It’s al­ways good to get out to the high schools and talk to stu­dents.

“They’re in­trigued about the life­style and ded­i­ca­tion it takes to be­come a pro­fes­sional foot­baller.”

Thurston was lit­tered with ques­tions at the school’s hall, in­clud­ing a per­sonal in­quiry into whether he “scrunches or folds” his toi­let pa­per, be­fore mov­ing to Filby’s Mo­tors in the af­ter­noon.

While he was in Cow­boys’ heart­land, Thurston’s team­mates were re­turn­ing to the field for pre-sea­son train­ing.

North Queens­land scraped past Brisbane in this year’s NRL grand fi­nal, but Thurston knows win­ning back-to-back ti­tles will be any­thing but a walk in the park.

“When you be­come pre­miers, ev­ery team you play against lifts that ex­tra 10%,” he said.

“We’ve got the same squad so hope­fully we can stay in­jury-free and give it a good shake.”

Rem­i­nisc­ing on that epic grand fi­nal vic­tory, a 17–16 win in golden point ex­tra­time, Thurston said the fi­nal mo­ments were sur­real.

“It was a wave of emo­tions,” he said.

“I missed the kick so I was pretty shat­tered. But the boys snapped me out of it and said we’d win in ex­tra time.

“James Tamou got a quick play the ball and I was able to take my time and slot the field goal.

“It was may­hem af­ter that.”

LEG­END: The man him­self, Johnathan Thurston, with some of PSHS’s most ded­i­cated fans.

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