Thurston's crack at Blues culture
He spent more than a decade taunting the Blues on the field and now Maroons legend Johnathan Thurston has had a crack at the culture of the New South Wales Origin team that has led to Laurie Daley losing his position as head coach.
The New South Wales Rugby League announced the findings of their review into the Blues' 2-1 series loss on Friday afternoon and confirmed in it that Daley would not be reappointed after five years in the role for a return of one series win in 2014.
Reports emerged on Saturday that in conducting their investigations NSWRL officials uncovered excessive bar bills racked up in the three Origin camps, something that Thurston pointed to as a difference between the Blues and the Maroons.
Speaking on Triple M on Saturday, Thurston said that Maroons players are given the freedom on their days off to do what they like but that they have the respect of the coaching staff not to tarnish their preparation by drinking excessively, something Blues pair Josh Dugan and Blake Ferguson were accused of doing four days out from the Origin decider.
"That's the difference in the culture I believe," Thurston said. "When the coaching staff give you those days off you do it in the right way and the right manner.
"Some of the boys will go and play golf, some of the boys go and sit at a café or whatever but certainly we're not on the piss five days out from a game.
"We get put in the same situation as well where Kevvie [Walters] and Mal [Meninga] before him, on our days off they trusted us to do the right thing with our days off.
"They treated us like adults and with that trust there is a mutual respect between the coaching staff and the players."
Thurston's 37-game Origin career came to a spectacular end when carrying a busted shoulder he kicked a sideline conversion to square the series in Game Two and has played an integral role in the setting of Queensland's culture.
He said the likes of Cameron Smith, Billy Slater and Cooper Cronk make it clear to the young players who come in what is expected of them and to respect the players who wore the jersey before them.
"They're the boys that drive the culture, they know what it takes to win," Thurston said.
"They know what they need to do week in, week out to get their bodies right and when those young boys come into camp they see the professionalism of those types of players and how they get their bodies right before a game.
"When they go back to club-land they learn a lot during that week that they are in camp."