The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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The deal the rugby league world has been waiting for has been completed and North Queensland Toyota Cowboys co-captain Johnathan Thurston will remain with the club until the end of the 2017 NRL season.
The four-year contract extension, which will extend JT’s career at the Cowboys to 13 NRL seasons, was announced at Cowboys HQ today.
A two-time Dally M Medal recipient and the 2011 Golden Boot winner as International Player of the Year, Thurston has already played 169 NRL games for the Cowboys and is set to bring up 200 overall as an NRL player in round three against Newcastle.
JT’s decision to remain with North Queensland follows on from his fellow co-captain Matthew Scott’s re-signing, also until the end of the 2017 season, which was announced late last month.
Cowboys CEO Peter Jourdain described Thurston’s re-signing as a highly significant moment for North Queensland.
“Everyone who follows rugby league knows he is one of the best players, if not the best player, in the game,” Mr Jourdain said.
“He is exceptional on the field, has been a long-time leader of our club, and is one of the faces of the Cowboys off the field.
“We are confident that we have put in place a squad that can challenge for the premiership this year and for years to come.
“This also means Johnathan will be able to continue the huge amount of off-field work he performs for our club through programs such as Learn Earn Legend!, as well as for many of our valued sponsors.”
Thurston made his debut for the Cowboys in 2005 and steered the club to its first grand final in his first year in North Queensland, as well as finals appearances in 2007, 2011 and 2012.
He also made his debut for Queensland in the ’05 season and is the only player to have taken part in every game in the Maroons’ seven consecutive State of Origin victories.