Thurston fit and firing for Storm clash
Cowboys superstar Johnathan Thurston has confirmed his fitness to play Saturday's qualifying final against the Storm, while fellow captain Matt Scott remains questionable after training apart from the rest of the team on Wednesday.
Thurston suffered a low-grade cork in the 75th minute of last week's game when Titans prop Luke Douglas's knee collected him flush on the left quadriceps.
Thurston told reporters immediately after Wednesday morning's training session that he felt no ill-effects of the cork and expected his co-captain to also line up at AAMI Park.
"Yeah [the body is] pretty good. The physios have been working overtime, but the body is in really good shape," Thurston said.
"I think the high performance unit has done a really good job through the year of getting our bodies prepared each week and this week is no different.
"[The injury] is pretty much healed now. I ran freely today and I'm looking forward to the final session on Friday.
"We're expecting [Scott] to play but I haven't spoken to him since he ran out there. But he should be there."
The Cowboys go into Saturday night's clash with Melbourne as underdogs, having been defeated twice by Melbourne this season.
Thurston sat out the Round 21 game – the Cowboys' only home loss of the season – with a hamstring injury. He watched from the coach's box that night, picking up a few things that the Storm were doing defensively.
"You can see a lot more unravel there than what you do on the field," he said.
"Just mainly [committed things to] memory; reading what their defence is doing when we have got the ball."
The Storm scouting hasn't stopped there. Thurston admitted he has tried to learn the ways of captain-referee conduct from Melbourne, Queensland and Australia skipper Cameron Smith over the years.
Apart from the anomalous blow-up aimed at referee Ashley Klein in Round 25, Smith's approach to referee interactions is always methodical, while Thurston finds it harder to keep emotion out of his questioning.
"I've tried to [learn from him]. Smithy's always been cool, calm and collected," Thurston said.
"It doesn't matter what the scoreboard shows, he doesn't show very much emotion whether they're behind or in front so that's what I've learned playing alongside him and him as my captain in those representative teams."
The Cowboys will fly out of Townsville on Thursday morning, giving the group one extra day of on-site preparation than they were accustomed to when travelling to away venues during the regular season.