Johnathan Thurston has sent a scare through the Maroons State of Origin camp after suffering a knee complaint at training on Sunday.
Another headache looms for Queensland coach Mal Meninga after Johnathan Thurston sent a scare through the camp by suffering a knee complaint at training on Sunday.
The key playmaker sat out the final 25 minutes of an opposed session against the Queensland Residents team on the Gold Coast, icing his knee after an on-field collision.
The Maroons held their breath when Thurston stayed down clutching his knee before being moved to the sidelines by medical staff.
Queensland tried to play down the injury after Thurston was seen walking back to his accommodation unaided without any knee strapping.
However, it is another potential drama for a Maroons camp that had just breathed a sigh of relief over Cooper Cronk’s miraculous return from a broken arm and winger Will Chambers being cleared of an assault allegation.
“He’s a pretty tough bloke. He can take a few knocks and bumps,” Maroons backs coach Kevin Walters said.
“It was just a collision between two players and he got hit hard on the knee.
“I would be surprised if there was much in it.”
Thurston will be examined again when he relishes a day off on Monday as Queensland count down to Wednesday night’s State of Origin game three clash at Suncorp Stadium.
Thurston will need to be fighting fit when the Maroons attempt to avoid a rare whitewash in Brisbane.
The Queensland pivot earlier on Sunday predicted more niggling tactics from NSW in Origin III after tensions threatened to reach boiling point in game two in Sydney.
Thurston has been heavily targeted all series by NSW but appeared to feel the heat in Origin II, slapping Beau Scott across the face and almost coming to blows with Blues pivot Josh Reynolds.
He also appears irked by criticism of his defence, questioning one journalist on Sunday about an article that mentioned his 11 missed tackles this series.
However, halfback Cronk’s remarkable return looks set to help keep Thurston’s emotions in check for a potentially explosive game three.
“He has calmness beyond his years,” said Thurston of Cronk, who has relegated young Manly star Daly Cherry-Evans to the Maroons bench just five weeks after suffering his arm fracture.
“It is good to hear a familiar voice and he gets the boys around the park better than most…and I just play off the back of that.
“Obviously we missed him the first couple of games.
“It affected all of us really.
“I still thought he (Cherry-Evans) was great for us in those games.
“(But) he (Cronk) knows how to win a game.”
NSW prop James Tamou claimed the Blues got under Thurston’s skin in game two and his Cowboys teammate lost control.
Thurston – set to become the eighth person to notch 30 Origin games – did not expect to lose focus in game three but believed the Blues would be at their niggling best.
“Obviously the tactics they have used have worked in the first two games – I don’t see them shying away from that,” he said.