That Johnathan Thurston has already played his final-ever Origin game, and we still have one to go in this year’s series, feels like a cruel twist of fate the likes of which we haven’t seen in the game for quite some time. But sport’s not fair at the best of times.
The extremely beloved and incredibly hard-nosed die-hard Maroon is out of tonight’s hotly anticipated series-deciding clash, after he gamely lifted his state onto his shoulders in game two and shattered one of them to smithereens in the process.
That injury brings to an end a glittering career in representative football spanning over a decade and some 37-odd caps for his native Queensland.
No doubt tonight’s broadcast of the game will feature plenty of chatter about Thurston, with the majority of Queenslanders quietly hoping coach Kevin Walters pulls a Wayne Bennett and secretly flies in a good shoulder for JT to run onto the field with.
But in recognition of one of the most glittering, gutsy, and determined rep footy careers Origin has ever seen, the NRL put together an incredibly moving tribute to one of the greatest to ever pull on a Maroon number 6.
Thursto, you absolute fucken ripper. So long, and thanks for everything.
Thurston has already reportedly told the QLD locker room that they don’t have to win it for him, but if you think for a second the Maroon boys aren’t gonna run out onto Lang Park with the steely gaze of JT burning in their eyes, you’ve all got another thing coming.
Those Blue boys better walk into Brisbane with their socks pulled up. Tonight’s gonna be a time.
Photo: Chris Hyde/Getty.