The North Queensland Cowboys are set to table a club-record three year $3 million deal to keep Johnathan Thurston in Townsville. The question is now, what is going through Thurston’s head?
After eight seasons of slog, Thurston is still yet to capture a premiership with the Cowboys. Is the legendary playmaker becoming frustrated with the lack of silverware?
Thurston has often carried the Cowboys to September. If any player in the National Rugby League still cared about his own legacy, its Thurston.
Is a lucrative four-year deal at the Canterbury Bulldogs really an option for the Queenslander?
Would the extra year be a factor to Thurston?
A four-year deal with the Bulldogs would take him through until he is 34. The impressive roster at Belmore surely makes a difference too.
He may have won a title in 2004, but that must seem like an age ago for Thurston. At the time, he was a kid lucky to be in the side. He is yet to lead a side to glory.
Whether its staying in Townsville or moving back down to Sydney, Thurston has every right to consider his own legacy and his place in history.
“I knew he was in Sydney but I wasn’t aware of who he would talk to. That’s fine. JT isn’t required for training for a few weeks so it’s probably a good time to assess his options,” Cowboys coach Neil Henry told The Courier-Mail last week.
“If someone came up with a massive offer we couldn’t compete with, then it would be an incentive for JT to leave.
“But we’re confident we can be in the ballpark with any figure other teams put forward.
“It will take a lot for him to move on. To be honest, I’m quietly confident he will stay.”
“Everyone wants to be in a team that is a real chance of winning a premiership and he is already in a team like that here,” he said.
“He has confidence in the players around him and there is improvement in this team as well.
“He has a strong connection to this region … there is no drama for him about the quality of the squad.”
If that’s the case, do we have to question the motives of Thurston’s visit to Belmore under the dark of night?
Was he really that angry the media photographed him?
Is it all just smoke and mirrors to pump up the offer from the Cowboys?
Time will tell.
If nothing else, Thurston deserves the right to make the decision in the best interest of his family. Standing on the stage at ANZ Stadium holding the trophy might just play a part too.