Cowboys coach Paul Green hopes his side makes it a night to remember when co-captain Johnathan Thurston celebrates his 200th game for NQ.
Officially, North Queensland coach Paul Green won’t be adopting a “do it for JT” approach ahead of co-captain Johnathan Thurston’s 200th game for the Cowboys.
But Green hinted it would be nice if his team did.
Thurston will become just the fourth player to notch the milestone for the NRL club when he runs out against Sydney Roosters in Townsville on Saturday night.
Green said he did not want to make the match all about Thurston.
However, he clearly had no problem with his players making it a big priority.
“You never make it about JT or ‘let’s do it for JT’,” Green said.
“But it’s about his teammates showing him the respect and making sure they play their part.
“The best thing they can do for him is do their job as best as they possibly can, get the result that we would like and make it a memorable night for JT.”
Thurston has claimed two Dally M Medals and Golden Boot awards and played five finals series since linking with North Queensland in 2005.
He will join Matthew Bowen (270), Aaron Payne (219) and Paul Bowman (203) in the Cowboys 200-game club and will be eligible to become North Queensland’s fifth life member.
“Two hundred games is a huge milestone for the club,” Green said of Thurston who has been captain or co-captain since 2008.
“He has been an integral part of the club for a long time.”
Thurston will get another new halves partner on Saturday night after Green opted to replace Robert Lui with Ray Thompson at halfback.
“Ray only missed a week. If he had been out much longer I would probably have to reconsider that from a match fitness point of view,” Green said.
“I had a chat with Robbie on the weekend. I thought he played really well for us on the weekend.
“He can still improve on a few areas but he understands where I am coming from.”
Winger Antonio Winterstein returns from a hamstring injury, replacing Curtis Rona while Tariq Sims will start at lock with Scott Bolton back on the bench.