Cowboys halfback Johnathan Thurston.

Thurston named 18th man for Cowboys

Johnathan Thurston has been named at 18th man for the North Queensland Cowboys' Friday night clash against the Parramatta Eels at 1300SMILES Stadium, but must train with the team to prove his fitness. 

Thurston has been running throughout the week, but has yet to complete a training session after injuring his calf in Round 6. Coach Paul Green is hopeful his star playmaker will take the field, but won't rush his return. 

"He hasn't trained with the team yet, he's done some rehab stuff. We've only got one more session so we'll see how he goes, obviously he's got to train and get through that," Green said. 

"He might be right but we're not going to take any unnecessary risks with him. He needs to convince us he's fully fit before considering." 

‌Thurston was named at in the number 18 jersey due to the new rules around naming players, under which coaches must nominate the 21 players that could potentially take the field. 

With pressure also mounting from the Australian side, which is named on Wednesday, Green is focussing solely on the Cowboys. 

"JT's a determined bloke so it's not about how determined he is it's about how fit he is, that's the only thing to consider," Green said. 

"We're not going to rush him back just so he can play a Test match, we've got a lot of games yet to play this season for us. We're not going to take unnecessary risks but by the same token if he's fit I'd like to have him in the team."

Green is preparing for a confident Parramatta side travelling to Townsville after winning two games in a row. 

"They're a tough, physical side they'll come up here with confidence. Certainly you've got to turn up physically to play against them and Corey Norman has been in good form so we're expecting a pretty tough game," he said.