The Roar
The Roar


Thurston’s greatness hinges on this Sunday

Johnathan Thurston has won four Dally Ms, but it is a grand final win that he really desires. (Photo: AAP)
Roar Guru
29th September, 2015

Johnathan Thurston’s position as potentially the game’s greatest ever player all depends on the result this Sunday.

Lead his team to victory and it’s hard to argue against him as the greatest player of the modern era, and quite possibly the most influential of all time. Fall to defeat and there are a few other players that might just sit above him.

I don’t think there is any argument against JT becoming a future Immortal. He may not be the next one, or the one after that but he will one day join the illustrious group. Remembering that you have to be out of the game for at least five years before being considered may rule him out of becoming the ninth, but he will sit up there eventually.

When people discuss the greatest ever, it is always going to be someone you have seen play. For this reason, judging players against those of other eras is too difficult to say and a wasted exercise. As a player to be the best, all you can do is make sure you dominate those who come up against you.

Thurston has done that.

But does this make him the best player of the NRL era? If he lifts up the Provan-Summons on Sunday, I think so and I will consider him the best player I have ever seen. Until then I have to put Andrew Johns and Darren Lockyer just above.

I know JT has won a premiership with the Bulldogs back in 2004 but coming on as a utility off the bench is not the same as leading your team in the chief playmaking position, something the other two have both done.

While Thurston might out do these two in Dally Ms (he has four to Johns’ three and Lockyer’s none) they beat him in other areas. Lockyer has a remarkable four premierships and one Clive Churchill Medal, while Johns has two premierships and a Clive Churchill. All three have also played leading roles in their respective state’s State of Origin series wins.

JT’s player of the year gongs are impressive but remember it is premierships that the players are gunning for, not individual accolades.


The fact that both Johns and Lockyer have stood up and been best on ground during a grand final is testament to their big match capabilities. There is no denying Thurston can turn up in big matches too, and let’s hope that he does this coming Sunday.

The one feather that JT is missing in his cap is a Clive Churchill Medal, but more importantly it is a premiership for the people of North Queensland. The Cowboys have had the roster capable for years now and conspiracy theories aside should have probably taken home the big prize.

Grand finals are hard to come by and at 32-years-old Thurston might find it hard to play in another. His career has built up to this moment and like most New South Welshman I will be cheering him and The Cowboys on against the Broncos.

Hopefully by about 9pm on Sunday, I’ll be calling him the greatest player I have ever seen.