North Queensland co-captain Johnatahan Thurston says the late Test schedule makes it too hard to play in the Auckland Nines pre-season event.

As proud as he was watching his North Queensland teammates win the club’s first NRL senior silverware, co-captain Johnathan Thurston won’t be putting his hand up to play in their Auckland Nines title defence in 2015.

“Not at this stage,” Thurston said when quizzed on the likelihood of playing in the tournament, which enjoyed huge success and capacity crowds in New Zealand last weekend.

The Australia and Queensland five eighth said the schedule for Test players made the Nines pre-season event too much of a stretch.

“I’ve got Four Nations at the end of the year. Providing I’m fit I will be playing in that.

“That will take us into the end of November so at this stage I’ve got no desire to play (in the Nines).

While playing in the tournament would be a bridge too far, Thurston was full of praise for the the Cowboys’ players that took out the inaugural title.

“It was a great effort by the boys,” he said.

“I’m extremely proud of them and the way they handled themselves over there.

“We can take a lot out of that.”