He is the highest paid player in the NRL, and at 31 years of age he isn’t getting any younger.
As the North Queensland Cowboys fell to the lowly Newcastle Knights 36-28 at Hunter Stadium last night, I couldn’t help but wonder if it is time for the Cowboys highest paid player to concentrate on trying to win the Cowboys a premiership from this point on.
Johnathan Thurston is obviously a great player. He has lead the Maroons and Australia to many victories over the years. The 2014 State Of Origin series hasn’t been his best series though.
New South Wales have targeted Thurston in defense and it has really paid off for them. Thurston is a great attacking player but at some point the Maroons are going to start to question if they can continue to carry him defensively.
As Daly Cherry-Evans continues to be groomed to step up and be Queensland and Australia’s number one playmaker, Thurston’s role in both teams isn’t as critical as it once was. At some point both the Maroons and Kangaroos will be looking to make a change with an eye on the future. The difficult question is, when do they make that change.
You don’t want to get to a point where we see Johnathan Thurston dropped from either team. For all of his years of great service, he deserves better than that.
There is no doubt that the North Queensland Cowboys would love to have their million dollar man around for the entire season. You can’t argue that Thurston’s absence from the team really kills the clubs momentum around this time of the year.
It is not a comfortable question to ask, and in the past it hasn’t needed to be addressed, but I think now is the time for Thurston, the Maroons, the Kangaroos and the Cowboys to all think about whether the time is right for Johnathan Thurston to retire from representative football.
The answer to that right now might not be a yes…but that day looks like it is fast approaching.
A well known Rugby League writer, League Freak has established a reputation among supporters of the game for his fearless commentary and unmatched insight. With a reach that spans both sides of the globe, League Freak has produced an independent network that allows him to distribute content to his many thousands of followers. He is the owner and main author of LeagueFreak.com