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Johnathan Thurston's heroics in the 2015 grand final will be forever replayed but behind the scenes of his remarkable turnaround was a boy who wanted to overcome adversity.

In a tell-all podcast released as part of Drinkwise's Bounce Back series on Sunday, Thurston described the final moments of the all-Queensland grand final as the snapshot to his rugby league journey – going from disappointment to the complete opposite and proving people wrong.

Thurston also discusses his family history - including them being part of the Stolen Generation - with Bounce Back host, Dr Andrew Rochford.

The two defining moments, where Thurston's sideline conversion hit the uprights after full-time, only to kick a field goal in golden point minutes later, couldn't have described the Cowboys superstar's career any better.

Thurston made a career out of learning to rebound from adversity and making future decisions that later helped set up the clutch play.

"When it came off the boot, as a goal-kicker you just know, I hit it flush," Thurston said.

A look back at the 2015 Grand Final

"I remember watching it come back and back and back, it crushed my dreams … shattered my dreams.

"This was my moment and what I lived for my whole life and that could've ended the game right then and there.

"That's then just a mental thing to snap out of it and focus on the next job."

This was my moment and what I lived for my whole life.

Johnathan Thurston

Thurston revealed it was premiership-winning Cowboys coach Paul Green who made sure if he won the coin toss the side were to kick-off, not receive the ball, in the first set of golden point.

"Five minutes of golden point you usually get an extra set with the ball in hand so I wanted to receive, but I said through gritted teeth we'll kick-off," Thurston said.

"I swear Kyle Feldt's kick had snow on it. When Benny Hunt dropped the ball, I gave myself a fist pump and said let's ice this.

"That is my greatest memory on a rugby league field."

More broadly, in the 50-minute episode, Thurston dives into the triumphs and struggles that provided an inspirational back story and led to his dream moment.

From the humble beginnings as a young boy growing up in Sunnybank to the life-changing decisions that helped shape his career.

The bad decisions – from the time he stole items at houses and cars as a teenager – to the struggles where he was overlooked by the Broncos and almost quit rugby league altogether due to homesickness.

Or his quest to learn more about his Indigenous heritage after his mother Debbie's incredible story.

"My mum's family, they were removed from their mum and dad at a young age," Thurston says.

"I wasn't aware of that until probably 10 years ago. No doubt they sheltered their family from that upbringing and tried to provide a life for us that was better than the one they had." 

This podcast with one of the game's best is not to be missed.

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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