No coaching aspirations for JT
After spending time on the sidelines watching his North Queensland Cowboys teammates, injured halfback Johnathan Thurston offered a friendly "hell no" when asked about the prospect of stepping into the coaching ranks for the future.
Thurston has been a common figure in Paul Green's coach's box since the season-ending shoulder injury and a joy for fans to watch for a reaction, but the champion No.7 insists that's as far as it would go post footy when asked of the prospects after the Cowboys' win over the Roosters on Saturday night.
"No chance, you've got to be a special breed of person to become a head coach," Thurston said of the idea, after watching his teammates go through to the 2017 NRL grand final.
"I definitely [get more nervous] on the sidelines. I wasn't too bad [for the Roosters clash]. Last week [against the Eels] I was a bit more nervous but this time was really calm and relaxed.
"I ride the rollercoaster like the fans do."
The Cowboys have been the fairy-tale story to come out of the finals series after a season hit by injuries to Thurston and co-captain Matt Scott.
A second premiership for the club is now within reach and a victory over the Melbourne Storm would cap one of the best underdog stories in NRL history.
"[My emotions are] through the roof," Thurston said.
"The boys had a good week at training and have been playing good footy. It's no surprise to me that this playing group has put the club into this position. I've seen it day in day out what they do."
Thurston has been hit with the same question in the last fortnight about a potential shock return for the encounter, and was in the mood to continue the hype on Saturday declaring he'd "pack the boots" just in case before offering some perspective.
"I'm not the only one to have had to sit out a grand final," he said.
"Smithy (Storm captain Cameron Smith) missed one through suspension and there are other players who have missed grand finals.
"I'm making sure I'm putting my energy into the right areas and making sure the boys prepare well.
"I'll be trying to get in there [at training] with a spring in my step and talk to the boys a lot, go to meetings and making sure that I still have a voice there."
There is no denying Thurston has had some influence on the form of halves Michael Morgan and Te Maire Martin, a role the future immortal has enjoyed and one that allowed him to overcome the devastation of missing the back-end of the season.
"It's been able to put my mind into another direction," Thurston said.
"(Morgan) is in career-best form and it's an insight into the future of the club.
"It's really important for him to play his own role and his own game and not try and fill my shoes.
"That's what I've always been speaking to him about – stamp your authority on the team and play your role and your game.
"His game has gone to another level."