Te Maire Martin was meant to learn from Thurston on the training paddock in 2017, but an injury to the North Queensland Cowboys co-captain saw him appear in the 2017 grand final and now in 2018, Martin has once again played in the NRL due to injuries and is using every moment as a learning experience.
On Friday night, he lined up against the Sharks as a late starting-side inclusion due to an injury to five-eighth Michael Morgan, after being placed on the bench after Ben Hampton filled in for the injured Lachlan Coote.
Martin's performance couldn't be called outstanding but it was certainly representative of his side, scrappy but an ample platform to build on.
"It all happened at one time, I was sort of preparing myself to go and play Q-Cup, and obviously you don't want any injuries in the team but Cootie went down last week… and then Morgo, so it sort of went up and up," Martin said.
"But I'm not complaining, I really enjoyed tonight and playing a game with JT on his 300th is pretty special."
"The reason to come here was to just train and learn as much as I could with Johnathan Thurston so getting to play with him is just a bonus."
Martin was understandably impressed with his captain's performance, particularly in the area of game management.
"He organises a few steps before and has a few plays if they do something different and he has a back-up plan; it's cool to be a part of, to sort of take a step back and watch it all, I really enjoyed it," he said.
Thurston was as pleased with Martin's performance as Martin was impressed with his, and spoke about the young talent in the post-match press conference.
"Obviously 'Morgo' is a big part of our team so [Martin] did a great job there tonight and it doesn’t matter who comes into our team, they're there to do a job and we've got full faith that they'll get the job done," Thurston said.
"Obviously he's very skilful, he knows our structures ad he's got a big future ahead of him."