The unwanted record Johnathan Thurston could finish his career with

Chris Matthews-Darby Roar Pro

By Chris Matthews-Darby, Chris Matthews-Darby is a Roar Pro

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    Johnathan Thurston will finish his 16-year NRL career this season, and for all the records he has accomplished, he could go out with an unwanted one.

    On October 1, 2017, the Cowboys were defeated 34-6 by the Storm in the grand final.

    Fast forward to June 9, 2018, and North Queensland were defeated 20-14 by the 16th-placed Eels. It was their tenth loss in 14 matches this season, two fewer than they lost in 28 matches in 2017.

    In NRL history, the grand final runners-up have finished in the top eight the following season 13 times. Only six times have the second-place team missed the finals the next season.

    After losing the 2011 grand final, the New Zealand Warriors finished 14th in 2012. This is the lowest a losing grand finalist team has finished the following season, but North Queensland are in danger of breaking that unwanted record.

    Paul Green’s men are two points off bottom spot and after losing to the Bulldogs and the Eels this season (the two teams below them), there is a chance they could finish with the wooden spoon 12 months after they lost the last game of the season.

    They still have ten matches remaining, so could mathematically return to ANZ Stadium on the last day of October. They lost five of their last six heading into the finals last season, without Matt Scott and Thurston.

    However, they still have to play the Warriors, Dragons, Rabbitohs, and the Sharks – all teams in the top six at the time of writing.

    The losers of the grand final have never finished below 14th, let alone finished with the wooden spoon.

    This is not a record Thurston deserves to round out his celebrated career.

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    The Crowd Says (35)

    • June 12th 2018 @ 2:54am
      KenoathCarnt said | June 12th 2018 @ 2:54am | ! Report

      Still will always be a legend. There has been quite a few years when he was at the Cowboys making endless losing speeches to the media but if you look at those speeches he looks absolutely exhausted with everything left on the pitch couldnt ask anything more out of him. Yeah he couldn’t have retired last year on somewhat of a high, but his determination for his team and for the game overruled that decision and considering a second string Cowboys team made the final that year he had good reason to think they could be very successful this year. Unfortunately his team has not replayed the favor.

    • Roar Guru

      June 12th 2018 @ 7:02am
      The Barry said | June 12th 2018 @ 7:02am | ! Report

      It’s the team that gets that record, not Thurston. Amazing and disappointing at how many people are lining up to take cheap pot shots at someone who’s been an absolute legend of the game.

      • June 12th 2018 @ 7:56am
        Brian Jones said | June 12th 2018 @ 7:56am | ! Report

        I didn’t get the impression that the author was in any way having a dig at JT .
        More that , he had found a somewhat pointless stat and decided to make a point of it .
        I think the point that can be taken away from this is that , JT may have chosen to stay in the game one year too long , and he certainly isn’t the first to make that mistake.
        Nothing he does this year can detract from what he achieved over his career .

      • June 12th 2018 @ 8:10am
        Duncan Smith said | June 12th 2018 @ 8:10am | ! Report

        I don’t think it’s a cheap shot necessarily. It’s more a case of saying a legend like JT doesn’t deserve to go out like this, with the Cowboys train wreck of a season and a possible wooden spoon – and maybe the dignified thing to do is retire now. Langlands, I think, played a handful of games in 1976 before retiring.

      • June 12th 2018 @ 8:19am
        Rob said | June 12th 2018 @ 8:19am | ! Report

        He’s part of the team TB. He has his hands on the ball more than anyone else. The Cowboys attack and last plays have been average at best and that’s what his job is. Kyle Feldt, Hampton, Taumalolo have been really good but there have been to many passengers and sorry but JT is In that lot. Against the Storm they exposed him in defence. Smith ran straight at JT out off dummy half to score in the second game and JT missed a penalty from right in front in the South’s loss. He’s a legend but he owns the losses as much as the others.

        • June 12th 2018 @ 9:09am
          3 recalcitrant monkeys said | June 12th 2018 @ 9:09am | ! Report

          You are on the money with all points Rob the 60 possessions a game has owner ship written all over it .. The kicking this year has been uncarictaristcly poor from all contributors .there have been other costly plays where Tomulolu was unmarked inside with the tryline open earlier in the season twice with games on the line . The thing now is its time for the future, the cowboys need a better kicking game and a goal kicker for next year, we will need a fullback 2 back up props for the bench to replace Bolts and Scott after next year, and replacements for whoever doesn’t get signed for next year in the back line. One more loss and if Green doesn’t start being proactive about next season you really have to question the rationale.

        • Roar Guru

          June 12th 2018 @ 9:43am
          The Barry said | June 12th 2018 @ 9:43am | ! Report

          I get that Rob.

          Thurston does own this loss as much as the others but the article isn’t about “Taumalolo gets unwanted record” or Green or Scott or Hess or Morgan, etc

          Why is this Thurstons record?

          • June 12th 2018 @ 10:50am
            Duncan Smith said | June 12th 2018 @ 10:50am | ! Report

            It’s because they made the grand final without Thurston and were expected to go one better when he returned. Instead, they sunk to the bottom to battle with Dogs and Parra for the spoon.

            Like it or not, the perception now is JT has a big part in it.

            But I wonder how their season would have gone if not for that goalpost in round 2 vs Brisbane. Could have been quite different.

          • June 12th 2018 @ 12:48pm
            no one in particular said | June 12th 2018 @ 12:48pm | ! Report

            Why is this Thurstons record? Because he gets all the plaudits when they win, he should also wear the criticisms of the losses

          • June 12th 2018 @ 1:38pm
            Rob said | June 12th 2018 @ 1:38pm | ! Report

            TB. I’m pretty sure JT has picked up plenty of individual awards off the back of the players around him also. The CC. 2015 Could have gone to 10 players before him. M. Bowen, M. Scott, Payne, quietly won games year after year Morgan, Taumalolo, Granville and others on occasion have regular been the major reason for winning. JT gets a hell of a lot of credit for any success. But Like I’ve said before look at 2004 and 2017 finals before and after JT.
            The other thing to remember is this playing group has been assembled and trained to accommodate a particular way that helps JT. and hide his weakness. Coote is picked to kick the Cowboys out of trouble, Linnett to defend for him, Cooper to run the short crash ball because he’s devoid of a strong long pass, an abundance of big forwards with limited licence to ball play because that doesn’t let JT do his thing if mistakes are made. Morgan to pull some magic if he gets the ball.
            I’ll concede the stop start penalty athon has crueled the Cowboys this year. He’s an entirely different player against tired defenders or retreating defence. Plenty of playmakers are as well and they cop criticism when the team is getting beat also..

    • June 12th 2018 @ 7:17am
      Rob said | June 12th 2018 @ 7:17am | ! Report

      The bizarre thing is the Cowboys beat Sharks, Panthers and went down by a point to Rabbits and the Storm. If Bolton doesn’t run into the goal post they beat the Broncos. I’m blaming Green more than the players. His contact talks were still going on well into the season. He hasn’t looked to the future of this club but his own and dropped the ball his aging squad has SFA to play for now. They have lacked enthusiasm since round 2 and he’s kept the same blokes doing the same thing.

      • Roar Guru

        June 12th 2018 @ 10:15am
        Nat said | June 12th 2018 @ 10:15am | ! Report

        I now understand you are one of the Cowboys faithful Rob and with this I agree with you. Green desire to stick with some is killing JT’s final go around. O’ Niel, Cooper, Lowe and Coote have dropped off tremendously. Winterstein is strong and experienced but slow and makes poor decisions. Morgan, is injured and well below where we expect him to be. Scott, IMO, isn’t great but getting better with each game. When Green has Tuala, Gela-Mosby, C Anderson, Jensen, Molo ready, able and waiting, that extra bit of energy and speed to make a world of difference. I still don’t put the Cowboys performance on JT. He is a step slower than he was without doubt but still a step ahead of most between the ears. He doesn’t need to be able to run 100m but he can send the young, quick blokes the distance given half a chance. They may not make the finals this year but if Green truly wants to make JT’s final season one to remember for him, give the arsenal to do so.

        • June 12th 2018 @ 7:48pm
          jimmmy said | June 12th 2018 @ 7:48pm | ! Report

          Nat everything you say is absolutely true. JT is not the main problem . He is below his best but that’s still better than anyone else we have got . If we were a remote hope off making the finals , JT should play every game.
          However we are done and the only thing we can do now is get ready for 2019. That doesn’t include JT and he shouldn’t play. His playing now does nothing for us at all.
          The Broncs with Bennett have never been sentimental about their champions . Ask Wally . Green needs to develop that ruthless streak . He is weak as P when it comes to dropping players . He needs to change.

        • June 12th 2018 @ 8:39pm
          Rob said | June 12th 2018 @ 8:39pm | ! Report

          Nat, I don’t hate JT he’s been a wonderful player and you wouldn’t get to many physically or mentally tougher to produce a magic moment under pressure. He has always played on instinct and he just never switched off or got lazy.
          IMO as a smart game manger he struggled probably because he was so focused on what was happening in the moment. Smith, Lockyer, Lewis, Johns, Stuart and Alf where ahead of him in this area. He was at his best in Origin playing second fiddle following the ball. You want him in your team but to much has been his biggest flaw. I noticed this in 2006. We started favourites and he was on fire, then teams worked him out. He tried harder and the Cowboys went worse. We played the Broncos at home and our season was going south. The Broncos were $1.20 and leading 6-0 when JT went off just before half time. M. Bowen stepped up and they went on to beat the Broncos 26-10? In the 2015 GF. I prayed they stopped passing JT the ball inside the 20m zone and went to Morgan because he had scored 3 against Milford already that season?

        • Roar Rookie

          June 13th 2018 @ 12:20pm
          Ray Paks said | June 13th 2018 @ 12:20pm | ! Report

          so now JT can’t make things happen with the present arsenal that went to the gf last year without him there? is it just me or is it plain & clear he’s simply become useless?

    • June 12th 2018 @ 8:55am
      Paul said | June 12th 2018 @ 8:55am | ! Report

      Hopefully Green will read this article and use it as a “gee up” for the team for the rest of the year. Still can;t see them coming last.

    • June 12th 2018 @ 10:14am
      oldcowboy said | June 12th 2018 @ 10:14am | ! Report

      Green will not make changes, he has sat on his hands all year and watched our season burn and crash, he has been either too loyal, frozen in place or there is simply no up and coming players to pick, the few that have been tried have not set the game alight. The football manager Peter Par should be under extreme pressure to keep his job as he has been in comfort zone to long. Ponga left because of two things opportunity and money, the cowboys seemed reluctant to play him consistently and that has been proved a large error . We have consistently lost talented young players to other clubs and that must be laid at Par’s door a hole new approach to recruiting and retention is needed

      • June 12th 2018 @ 8:25pm
        jimmmy said | June 12th 2018 @ 8:25pm | ! Report

        Absolutely spot on old cowboy.

    • June 12th 2018 @ 10:44am
      Justine said | June 12th 2018 @ 10:44am | ! Report

      Even if they did get the SPOON, JT will always be remembered as ONE OF THE BEST EVER players of his era.
      You can’t expect to play for 14 seasons and not have a few rough seasons. Just so happens his last season
      is not going to be what he had hoped…

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