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Thurston shrugs off halfback return

Thurston shrugs off halfback return
Johnathan Thurston's kicking game will need to be on song if the Cowboys are to get the better of the Broncos in Townsville. Credit: NRL Photos. Copyright: Colin Whelan.
Cowboys co-captain Johnathan Thurston has shrugged off claims his team would be better off if he switched from five-eighth to halfback after a slow start to the season and various changes at No.7.

A host of former Origin players including Queensland legend Wally Lewis have weighed in on the current predicament of the Cowboys, saying the team lacks organisation and that Thurston finds himself too far away from the action at times.

Thurston has played down the issue, saying the number on the jersey represents the biggest difference between the two halves positions and there was no need for change.

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"There's not too much difference between the two positions. I'm pretty comfortable and 'Greeny' (Cowboys coach Paul Green) is pretty comfortable with the way I'm playing there. We've switched a couple of things up already but there's no need for me to switch back to halfback," Thurston said.

"I don't think anything will change (if I switch to the seven). In our last two performances, I'm getting the ball in my hands a lot more than I was in the first few rounds, so that's been pleasing and that will continue over the next few weeks.

"I get to roam playing five-eighth, so I get to jump on the left side or right side and that's what I like about playing at six, it gets you a little bit wider and you can see things unfold a little easier. At halfback, you're always on the ball and you don't get those opportunities."

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With coach Paul Green trying to build a credo of consistency with selections, Thurston will line up alongside Ray Thompson for the second week in a row against Brisbane on Friday night – facing arguably the form halfback of the competition, Ben Hunt.

"I think the halves combination of Hunt and [Josh] Hoffman is working well for them. Hunt controls the game and Hoffman is more a runner of the ball," Thurston said.

"They will learn the more they play together and come Friday we need to limit their time and make sure we put a little bit of pressure on both of them."

Meanwhile, the Cowboys announced have a continued partnership with naming rights sponsor, Toyota, that will see the car industry giant adorn the front of the North Queensland jersey through until 2017.

"We are very honoured that this will be a 15-year naming rights sponsorship which is one of the longest in Australian sport at a club level," Cowboys CEO Peter Jourdain said.
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