Thurston shakes off dodgy calf to lead Roos home
Cowboys playmaker Johnathan Thurston was touch-and-go to even play in close mate Cam Smith's 50th Test but after producing two try assists in his injury comeback has declared he was 100 per cent ready to go and wouldn't have played if he thought he may not get through the game.
Afterwards, he described the calf strain as less of an issue than a lack of match fitness, confessing to sucking in the big ones a few times as the match wore on.
"[The calf was] not too bad… I got my hands on the ball a couple of times and just wanted to concentrate on being solid in defence. First game back in a month and pulled up pretty good," Thurston said.
"If I wasn't right to go I wouldn't have played, I wouldn't have put the team at risk, I'd put the team first.
"I had full faith and confidence in my calf that I'd get through the game and I did. I needed to make sure I was 100 per cent fit because it wouldn't be fair on Smithy or the team."
Having played though, he admitted it was important to him to have been there for Smith's historic 50th Test.
"There's only two Kangaroos (Smith and Darren Lockyer) that have played 50 Tests in 112 years so it's quite special and I'm glad to be a part of it and get the result that we wanted," he said.
Thurston's efforts also drew praise from coach Mal Meninga.
"He got better as the game went on, to be honest with you," Meninga said.
"As the game went on the more confident he got, he got his second wind and when [halfback] Cooper [Cronk] came off he took pretty good control of the footy team and what a champion he is."
Meninga attempted to set a cat amongst the pigeons with a suggestion Thurston may renege on his stated representative retirement following this year's World Cup.
"He was talking about keeping going. You never say never do you?" Meninga said.
Thurston however was quick to laugh off those suggestions.
"I've made my decision and I'll be sticking firmly to that," he said.