The Sunday Mail (Queensland)

SIMPLY THE BEST

JT VOTED GREATEST IN POLL

- PAUL MALONE

HE HAS your overwhelmi­ng vote as the greatest player in the game and your favourite Maroon, but he’s not Queensland’s next Immor

tal. Johnathan Thurston has scored a landslide 70.1 per cent of the vote as the best player in the game after a News Corp survey of more than 5500 fans.

Four out of 10 readers have also voted Thurston their favourite Queensland­er. And the Cowboys skipper ranked second in the toughest player category, won by Paul Gallen.

JT’s Cowboys were behind only the Roosters in the views of who would win this year’s NRL title.

But Darrenren Lockyer, who retired four years ago, emerged as the pick to be the next Queensland Immortal.

Thurston, who is chasing a fourth Dally M medal, was well placed when voting was no longer made public.

Jarryd Hayne’s early progress in the NFL led 55.8 per cent of respondent­s to say they reckoned more NRL players would try their luck in American football.

There was a striking vote of confidence in Bronco Ben Hunt to become Queensland’s next playmaker, and a stern reminder to six-game Maroon Daly Cherry-Evans that he has not been forgiven by many for backflippi­ng on the Titans.

Asked who the next Queensland halfback would be, couriermai­l .com.au readers preferred Hunt (65 per cent) to Cherry-Evans (18.4).

Hunt, 25, was preferred as the next man to be picked for the Queensland Origin side by 51.6 per cent, ahead of clubmate Anthony Milford (20.7) .

The gong for most disliked player in the NRL went to Blues skipper Gallen (18), ahead of retiring Maroon Justin Hodges (17.3). Fans Australia-wide rated Milford (32.9 per cent) the best NRL player aged 21 or under, ahead of Panther Bryce Cartwright (18.4).

A total of 55.5 per cent said they were surprised at how well the Broncos had done this year while 58.7 per cent said North Queensland had the quality of young players to win the title in years to come.

Asked what strategy they would support if Billy Slater and Inglis were both fit for Origin next year, 51.6 per cent advocated for Slater at fullback and Inglis in the centres.

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