After a dominant display for Queensland in the first State Of Origin, and an even more dominant display in the Cowboys win against the Bulldogs just two days later, Jonathan Thurston is in the form of his career.
On a night when channel 9 commentator Ray Warren was comparing Cowboys fullback Matthew Bowen to the late, great Clive Churchill, Thurston was simply magnificent in both attack and defense.
Thurston always had big wraps on him as a junior and I remember being told by a number of people that he would be a special player. However as he broke into the top grade with the Bulldogs it took him some time to get up to speed with first grade football, and physically, he still had some work to do.
By the end of his time with the Bulldogs the first signs were there that he could have the impact to turn a game, but for the Bulldogs, that mostly came in the form of a contribution off the bench.
Once he gained a spot in the halves with the Cowboys though he didn’t take long before he started to show he could be a true game breaker at the top level. However even as the Cowboys made the 2005 National Rugby League Grand Final, few would have predicted Thurston had this kind of football in him.
Its makes you glad that a player this good is playing for the Cowboys, a real team of the people in Rugby League heartland up in North Queensland. Cowboys fans travel for hours to get to home games and they turn up no matter how the team is playing.
Its reminiscent of Newcastle who were blessed with Andrew Johns presence for so many years.
The fact that there is little debate over Thurston’s standing in the Queensland and Australian Test team as the number one halfback with in form players like Scott Prince and Cooper Cronk playing so well says a lot.
For the record, when people were calling for Andrew Johns to be selected in the Australian Test team earlier this year, I was calling for Thurston to keep his well deserved place.
As one great halfback leaves the game, another one steps forward who can leave you breathless with his skill and determination to win.
As always in Rugby League, there is a young bloke out there just waiting to take your place.