Johnathan Thurston back early for pre-season

Scott Bailey Roar Guru

By Scott Bailey, Scott Bailey is a Roar Guru

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    Johnathan Thurston has returned to North Queensland’s pre-season training early as he stays on track for a milestone NRL round-one return from his shoulder surgery.

    Thurston, who hasn’t played since Queensland’s State of Origin II win in June, returned to the Cowboys’ gym on Wednesday, joining the club’s rookies and a select group in rehabilitation.

    The main squad isn’t due back till next week.

    Assuming he is fit, Thurston will play his injury-delayed 300th NRL game on March 9 against Cronulla in round one.

    The 34-year-old will focus solely on North Queensland in 2018, with the Queensland maestro having previously announced his retirement from representative football.

    His summer return will come as a big boost to the Cowboys, after they reached the 2017 grand final without co-captains Thurston and Matt Scott.

    They will also have most of their stars on board for the summer before other clubs.

    Their 2018 squad accounted for just four of the 115 front-line NRL players at this year’s World Cup.

    While other clubs will have as many as 13 players unavailable until January due to representative duties, the Cowboys will only be missing Jason Taumalolo, Michael Morgan, Te Maire Martin and recruit Jordan McLean.

    Despite their lengthy injury toll at the back end of 2017, only Shaun Fensom (leg), John Asiata (hand) and centre Kane Linnett (elbow) have required off-season surgery.

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    The Crowd Says (7)

    • Roar Guru

      November 15th 2017 @ 2:21pm
      BigJ said | November 15th 2017 @ 2:21pm | ! Report

      Good for him, lets hope he is all good for 2018.

    • Roar Rookie

      November 15th 2017 @ 4:47pm
      Dogs Boddy said | November 15th 2017 @ 4:47pm | ! Report

      I hope he makes it through the season so he can retire properly. Would be a shame for him to go out injured.

    • November 15th 2017 @ 4:51pm
      KingCowboy said | November 15th 2017 @ 4:51pm | ! Report

      Hopefully JT stays retired from Rep footy and he can play most of the year for us. I would not be against giving him a break a couple times through out the year.

    • Roar Rookie

      November 16th 2017 @ 9:14am
      up in the north said | November 16th 2017 @ 9:14am | ! Report

      If they’re playing a testimonial game during pre-season, wouldn’t that count as his 300th?
      Anyway doesn’t matter, just a thoought.
      I’ve been wondering how they’re going to manage having three halves in the side for the season, Morgan should be on Origin duty again so that opens a window for Martin which will be interestig how he goes alongside JT.
      I’m sure coach Greeny has a plan. Gives us something to salivate over during the summer lull.

      • November 16th 2017 @ 2:32pm
        Beastie said | November 16th 2017 @ 2:32pm | ! Report

        I would think Martin would take the utility role on the bench to rotate Granville during the game. I think it would be worth looking at how Kidwell plays him this weekend to get a better idea on how he could impact the game coming on from the bench.

        • Roar Rookie

          November 16th 2017 @ 3:23pm
          up in the north said | November 16th 2017 @ 3:23pm | ! Report

          They’ve got Granville covered already with – his name eludes me at present – but more to the point Granville should be soon becoming an 80 minute player. I can see the merit in Martin toiling off the bench but he’s too small and doesn’t have the skill set to do much except cover for the halves.

          That would be a waste of a bench spot I reckon.
          I’d hate to think that what use Kidwell made of him would influence what Paul Green has planned for him either.

          Martin did a good job since his arrival but now the top dog is back it might be best if he spent lots of time in the gym and honing his craft with one of the feeder clubs and biding his time until next year when the maestro finally retires.

    • Roar Guru

      November 17th 2017 @ 10:33am
      Nat said | November 17th 2017 @ 10:33am | ! Report

      Imagine a rookie rocking up, excited as hell as getting a train-on gig with the Cowboys and JT walks in! How much harder would you train, in the punishing NQ summer, just to have his approval – and he would tell you either way. I’m sure Te Marie Martin would have no issue playing 2nd fiddle to JT and Morgan for a season. Although not bad having an NZ rep struggling to make your quad.

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