The play that made Thurston an Origin star
Twenty-five minutes into Game Three of the 2006 Origin Series Johnathan Thurston went to the Blues defence just five metres from their try-line looking to extend his side's early 4-0 advantage.
Facing the prospect of a record fourth series loss in succession, the Maroons had fought back in fine fashion to level the series with a 30-6 win at Suncorp Stadium and were now trying to reverse the Blues' stranglehold in the unfamiliar surroundings of the Telstra Dome in Melbourne.
Thurston's pin-point accurate kick to the corner saw Adam Mogg score the opening try of the game but just as they were looking to hammer home their ascendancy Blues winger Eric Grothe Jnr snatched a Thurston pass and raced 95 metres to score at the other end.
Playing his sixth Origin game and looking for his first series win, such a momentum swing would send lesser players into the background but down 14-4 with less than 10 minutes to play it was Thurston who changed the course of Origin history.
As the Maroons desperately searched for points Thurston jinked on his own 20-metre line, cut through the blues defence and sent Brent Tate on a 60-metre run to the try-line.
As Tate slams the ball into the turf Thurston is bouncing around the in-goal like a jack-in-the-box and 10 years on the North Queensland champion admits that it was the moment that made him feel like a true Origin player.
"I think that was probably the first game I thought I had a fair bit to do with it," Thurston said of Queensland's famous 16-14 win that was sealed by Darren Lockyer swooping on a wild Brett Hodgson pass six minutes from full-time.
"I put 'Tatey' away and also made another line break in that game as well so that game stands out. First ever series win, I was very happy with the way that I performed for the team."
If Grothe's intercept try wasn't difficult enough to stomach his second left the Queenslanders in a state of disbelief.
A bomb by the Blues landed 25 metres out from the Queensland line and appeared to have been knocked on by Hodgson before Steve Menzies snaffled it and sent Grothe away for his second.
Replays left the commentary team in no doubt that the try would be disallowed but the video referees declared that the ball had bounced off Hodgson's torso and gave it the green light.
"We had our backs against the wall, a few calls went against us but in true Queensland spirit we fought our way out of it and got the result and we haven't looked back," Thurston recalled.
"I remember walking back with one of those calls and I said to 'Locky', 'This isn't our night' and he snapped us out of it.
"We were two tries down at that stage and we ended up coming back and winning it with 10 to go. Very fond memories.
"We had our backs against the wall for most of that game but it was a team that had great self belief and confidence to get the job done and that's what we did."
Ten years on and Thurston is not only a leader on the field for Queensland but an increasingly prominent figure in the community.
He used Origin's massive television reach to urge children in the troubled community of Aurukun to keep turning up to school and is conscious of how he can influence the behaviours of others.
"There's around 200 kids there and they're getting 60-70 per cent going to school now which is a good sign," Thurston said.
"We're in a privileged position and I want to make the most of that in any way I can. I'm very passionate about my heritage, my culture and I want to see the next generation of our culture coming through and doing good things."