Thurston Return Postponed
Johnathan Thurston could be out with the knee injury he picked up in the third state of origin match for longer than first expected.
Thurston was initially ruled out for four weeks, however after consulting with the Cowboys medical staff, it is believed the playmaker will be on the sidelines longer than expected.
“I was a little ambitious there,” said Thurston when referring to his four week recovery time frame.
“It was a pretty ugly injury and heading towards the finals, I don’t want to come back earlier than expected and do more damage.
“The physio’s pretty happy with the progress. He says we’re on target for six weeks so I won’t be rushing things.”
That time frame means Thurston may be available Cowboys round 23 clash with the Broncos, otherwise he will return the next week against the South Sydney Rabbitohs in Sydney.
Ben Jones will play halfback for the Cowboys against the Titans on the weekend after rookie Michael Morgan was dropped following a poor performance in the Cowboys 38-18 loss to the Wests Tigers on the weekend.
Thurston, who will travel to the Gold Coast this weekend with his team mates, said Morgan would come back to the NRL as a stronger player for having been dropped.
“He’s been thrown in the deep end. He’s still getting used to it and I think the more time he gets there, the better it will be for him” Thurston said.
While the Cowboys are seriously missing Thurston’s influence on the field, the origin and test five-eighth is hoping to take up a mentoring role with the clubs young halves while he is on the sidelines.
“We’ve got some great young halves. I’ll be giving them feedback. My presence will hopefully help them along.
Ben Jones has played five games for the Cowboys this year, with those appearances coming in the centres and at hooker. However in the pre-season he spent a lot of time training in the halves before coach Neil Henry decided to go with Ray Thompson as Thurston permanent halves partner.
Jones said that he was aware that he had big shoes to fill.
“Johnno’s one of the best players in the game, but I’m not going out there trying to be Johnno, I’m just going to go out there and be myself and play the best I can. Hopefully it will be good enough to get a win,” Jones said.
The next three weeks will give Jones a chance to push for a spot in the Cowboys team post Thurston’s return.
“I would love to get my opportunity this weekend and hopefully I can stay there while JT’s out, and if the opportunity comes to stay in the team I’ll take it with both hands.
“Defensively I have to be there and make my tackles, and attacking-wise I have to make sure we’re completing our sets and steering the boys around the park.”