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26 Apr 2018 2:36
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  •   Home > News > Sports > Rugby League

    Thurston out to prove NRL doubters wrong

    Johnathan Thurston will be out to answer his critics in North Queensland's NRL clash with Canterbury.

    - article from

    Don't be surprised if over the next few days Canterbury coach Dean Pay sends Penrith great Greg Alexander a card with a message enclosed saying "thanks for nothing".

    Before the Bulldogs' NRL clash with North Queensland on Saturday night, Alexander has poked the bear by questioning whether Cowboys superstar Johnathan Thurston has played on one season too many.

    Alexander's suggestion has been widely criticised by the likes of Phil Gould and Justin Hodges after committing the cardinal sin of writing off a champion.

    The Bulldogs fear Thurston, with a chip on his shoulder, will look to issue his reply on 1300SMILES Stadium.

    "Those sort of comments, I wish he said them the week that they played Penrith, that's for sure," Pay said.

    "That doesn't help. JT's a champion, he was a part of our club, we've got the utmost respect for him."

    Both sides go into the clash equally desperate at 1-4.

    But for Thurston, 34, it will carry extra weight as he looks to prove he's not a spent force after undergoing shoulder surgery last year.

    After five rounds, he and halves partner Michael Morgan just haven't been able to get on the same page.

    They've tried hard and been successful at creating pressure - the Cowboys have enjoyed an average 41.6 tackles per game in the opposition 20, the most in the league, however been unable to land the killer blow.

    The return of fullback Lachlan Coote, playing his first NRL game of the year after two weeks in reserve grade following a hamstring injury, will only take pressure off the Cowboys playmakers.

    Asked if Thurston was primed to make a statement, coach Paul Green said: "The training has improved from all our players and JT is one of our leaders so he probably needs to set the example there along with some others.

    "Joy's probably not the right word but I just know when good players cop criticism like that, they know the best way to respond is on the field.

    "He doesn't forget how to play, he just has to go out and answer the critics the best way."


    * North Queensland have won five consecutive against Canterbury and will be aiming for six straight wins against an opponent for the first time in club history.

    * The Bulldogs have lost their first three away matches to start a season for the first time since 1971.

    Source: Fox Sports Stats


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