Cowboys halfback Johnathan Thurston has been ruled out of Saturday’s clash with Cronulla after the champion playmaker pulled up sore following his heroics in the nation’s capital on Saturday.
Green’s decision comes on the back of Thurston’s gruelling schedule last week which included a tough Origin defeat followed by a last-second winning field goal less than three days later.
Thurston was not 100 per cent following Wednesday’s Origin II, with Green indicating on Saturday that he was touch and go right up until kick-off.
Thurston was on the ground just as often as he was on two feet last Wednesday after being targeted by multiple Blues on fifth-tackle plays, but the 32-year-old showed up again, determined to continue his side’s double-digit win streak.
“He pulled up a little bit sore with his shoulder after the weekend,” Green said on Tuesday.
“Obviously backing up only a few days after the Origin, he knew it was an issue going into the game so how he pulled up after that we were never going to be really sure. It’s still pretty sore so at this stage we will rest him.”
While Green has not completely shut the door on Thurston this week, the Cowboys mentor has frequently noted his ‘big-picture’ focus over the past few weeks in relation of player health.
“Luckily we’re not in a position right now where we have to win every game. Not that we’re going out to not win, we’ll put a more-than-competitive team on the paddock,” Green said.
“I’m replacing an Origin player with an Origin player so I think we’ve got the team and the game plan to certainly compete with Cronulla this weekend.
“He was feeling pretty beat up after the game. Coming off a big Origin game it was a pretty big high for us also, so it was going to take him a few days to get over that.
“To add on top of that he is pretty beaten up, so we discussed it. He was probably more adamant that he wanted to play last weekend than he did about this weekend.
“Ultimately it was my decision, but as I’ve said all along in terms of resting players and stuff through Origin, it’s about the bigger picture."
Thurston’s halves partner Michael Morgan will take the lead playmaking role this week after failing to back up after Origin due to a troublesome shoulder.
Meanwhile, forward Scott Bolton will return to the field ahead of schedule, being named for the Northern Pride against the Ipswich Jets this weekend.
“[He's] just working on a bit of match fitness and seeing how the hand goes and before too long hopefully he is back up with us too,” Green said.
“It seems to be a bit of a common theme with our guys so a big rap to our HPU (High Performance Unit) staff. They do a really good job there in terms of rehabbing guys and more importantly when the guys do come back they hit the ground running.”