Foran relishing final fling against Thurston
From one former Test five-eighth in Kieran Foran to another in Johnathan Thurston: ''Thanks for the memories.''
When Foran's Canterbury Bulldogs face the North Queensland Cowboys at 1300Smiles Stadium on Saturday, it will be the last time the talented pair face each other.
''It's not something you go into a game thinking about,'' Foran told NRL.com.
''But he's been such a champion player for so long that I will really enjoy this last time we come up against one another.
"He's one of the very best in the game. I know over the years I've played Johnathan Thurston it's been such a great experience. He's been incredible as a player. I've learned a lot off him.''
The pair faced each other while Foran was at Manly and in his short time with Parramatta. They did not meet while Foran was at the Warriors last year.
Ironically Foran meets him this last time playing for the Bulldogs - Thurston's old club.
In Foran's 21 Tests for New Zealand, he opposed Thurston in either the No.7 or No.6 jersey eight times.
''There's no sadness to think that after this weekend we don't get to play together again. You just enjoy the fact you got to play against someone of his calibre,'' he said.
"Potentially he's the greatest to play our game and I don't say that lightly. He's just a never-ending competitor in the game from start to finish.
"And he plays a great game every week. You see it in all areas of his game.
"As a half watching him you admire how he gives 10 out of 10 no matter what stage of a game. That's what every player strives to do for 26 rounds – to be at your very best.
"Johnathan Thurston has done that time after time.
"He's not done yet, but that's the memory I'll always keep of him."
Another Bulldog and former Test teammate of Thurston's, winger Brett Morris, is also looking forward to playing JT for the last time.
"He's not the biggest bloke; not the fastest; not the strongest; but he's the best competitor," Morris told NRL.com.
"He always gives 100 per cent and puts himself in places where he can make things happen.
"I'll miss watching those last five minutes of a game where he's basically got his hands on the ball all the time, running every play, trying to score points.
"Or someone makes a break and he's there chasing them down.
"It's hard to explain how you can play that well for so many years. It may be his last year - and my last time playing him - but I won't be taking him lightly - none of us will."