Thurston's final Origin act still to come
History will show Johnathan Thurston's last play in the Origin arena to be a sideline conversion to square the 2017 Holden State of Origin Series at ANZ Stadium but the Maroons have unveiled plans to use the champion five-eighth to secure victory in Game Three on July 12.
Thurston and the Cowboys announced on Friday that the damage he sustained to his troublesome right shoulder on Wednesday night would force the 34-year-old to go under the surgeon's knife, thus bringing to an end his 2017 season and his decorated representative career.
Reaffirming on Friday that he would not be changing his mind on standing down from representative football, Thurston's contribution to Queensland's Origin campaigns since 2005 consists of 37 appearances (second all-time including a record 36 in succession), an Origin-record 220 points consisting of five tries, 99 goals and two field goals and 10 series victories.
When he was ruled out of Game One with the shoulder injury he picked up in the mid-year Test Thurston remained in camp with the Maroons to assist Anthony Milford's transition into the Queensland team and he will be again part of preparations to guide the new No.6 and plot an 11th series win over the Blues.
"Johnathan will have a role within the team for Game III," said Maroons coach Kevin Walters.
"Obviously with it being his last Origin series we will make sure it is a special occasion for him and his family.
"His efforts in Game II were really above and beyond.
"We are very grateful to Johnathan, that he has put this team in the position that we are now able to go to Suncorp Stadium for a decider."
The Queensland team undertook a dramatic overhaul prior to Game Two in order to level the series and are now looking at blooding more new blood with the injuries to both Thurston and Darius Boyd.
Playing in the centres for Queensland for the first time, Boyd played through the pain of a broken thumb and after surgery on Friday afternoon now faces a six-week layoff before returning for the Broncos.
"Darius was excellent for us in Sydney at centre and we wish him a speedy recovery," Walters said.
"Like Johnathan, he will be difficult to replace but I'm confident that we have players in our system ready to make the step up."
Origin appearances: 37
Origin wins: 24
Man of the Match awards: Five
Points: 220 (Origin record)
Goals: 99 (Origin record)