North Queensland star Johnathan Thurston says he only has three years left in rugby league after winning his third Dally M award.
Johnathan Thurston has revealed his current NRL deal will likely be his last, but the North Queensland star remains adamant he can add a premiership with the Cowboys to his resume before he retires in three years time.
On Monday night Thurston joined Immortal Andrew Johns as only the second player in history to collect three Dally M player-of-the-year awards, sharing the 2014 honour with Parramatta’s Jarryd Hayne.
Thurston now has an opportunity to push for a fourth, an achievement which would make his case to join Johns as a future Immortal almost impossible to ignore.
However, the 31-year-old has indicated he only has three seasons left in the game before he hangs up the boots, and played down his chances of taking out the game’s highest individual honour again.
But despite flagging that the end is coming, Thurston has declared he’s confident he won’t leave Townsville without guiding the Cowboys to that elusive maiden premiership triumph.
“Yeah 100 per cent. Without a shadow of a doubt,” Thurston told AAP.
“I’m sure there’s every person in the competition that would say that too and it all starts again for us in November.
“We’ll be doing our best to do that and we’re no different to the other clubs, we want to win the premiership.”
But Thurston is less bullish about a fourth Dally M.
“Look to win one is such a huge honour and here I am beside an Immortal (Johns),” he said.
“I’m so happy and I’ve got my teammates to thank for that.
“I’ve only got three years left so I don’t think there’s (time for) another one.”
Pressed on his retirement plans, Thurston tried to remain coy.
“Oh never say never but we’ll just have to wait and see,” he said.
Thurston and Hayne both polled 32 Dally M points, becoming the first shared winners’ of the award since it was first handed out in 1980.
The Queensland and Australian five-eighth said he was honoured, but outlined the hurt the Cowboys are going through after being knocked out of the finals in agonising circumstances for the third year running.
“It’s been tough. The way we got knocked out has made it tougher,” he said.
“It needs to be a massive learning curve for our club.”
BEST OF THE BEST FOR 2014:
Dally M Player of the Year – Jarryd Hayne (Parramatta Eels) and Johnathan Thurston (North Queensland Cowboys)
Captain of the Year – Jamie Lyon (Manly Warringah Sea Eagles)
Rookie of the Year – Luke Brooks (Wests Tigers)
Best Representative Player – Jarryd Hayne (Parramatta Eels)
Fullback of the Year – Jarryd Hayne (Parramatta Eels)
Winger of the Year – Semi Radradra (Parramatta Eels)
Centre of the Year – Jamie Lyon (Manly Warringah Sea Eagles)
Five Eighth of the Year – Johnathan Thurston (North Queensland Cowboys)
Halfback of the Year – Daly Cherry-Evans (Manly Warringah Sea Eagles)
Lock Forward of the Year – Sam Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
Second Rower of the Year – Beau Scott (Newcastle Knights)
Front Rower of the Year – James Graham (Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs)
Hooker of the Year – James Segeyaro (Penrith Panthers)
Top Points Scorer – Johnathan Thurston (North Queensland Cowboys)
Top Try Scorer – Jarryd Hayne (Parramatta Eels)
Holden Cup Under 20s Player of the Year – Kane Elgey (Gold Coast Titans)
Provan Summons Peoples Choice Medal – Johnathan Thurston (North Queensland Cowboys)
THE WHO’S WHO OF NRL SUPERSTARS:
Dally M Medal Honour Roll
2014: Johnathan Thurston (North Qld Cowboys) and Jarryd Hayne (Parramatta Eels)
2013: Cooper Cronk (Melbourne Storm)
2012: Ben Barba (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)
2011: Billy Slater (Melbourne Storm)
2010: Todd Carney (Sydney Roosters)
2009: Jarryd Hayne (Parramatta Eels)
2008: Matt Orford (Manly Sea Eagles)
2007: Johnathan Thurston (North Qld Cowboys)
2006: Cameron Smith (Melbourne Storm)
2005: Johnathan Thurston (North Qld Cowboys)
2004: Danny Buderus (Newcastle Knights)
2003: Not awarded
2002: Andrew Johns (Newcastle Knights)
2001: Preston Campbell (Cronulla Sharks)
2000: Trent Barrett (St George Illawarra Dragons)
1999: Andrew Johns (Newcastle Knights)
1998: Andrew Johns (Newcastle Knights)
1997: Not awarded
1996: Allan Langer (Brisbane Broncos)
1995: Laurie Daley (Canberra Raiders)
1994: Cliff Lyons (Manly Sea Eagles)
1993: Ricky Stuart (Canberra Raiders)
1992: Gary Freeman (Eastern Suburbs Roosters)
1991: Michael Potter (St George Dragons)
1990: Cliff Lyons (Manly Sea Eagles)
1989: Gavin Miller (Cronulla Sharks)
1988: Gavin Miller (Cronulla Sharks)
1987: Peter Sterling (Parramatta Eels)
1986: Peter Sterling (Parramatta Eels)
1985: Greg Alexander (Penrith Panthers)
1984: Michael Potter (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)
1983: Terry Lamb (Western Suburbs Magpies)
1982: Ray Price (Parramatta Eels)
1981: Steve Rogers (Cronulla Sharks)
1980: Robert Laurie (South Sydney Rabbitohs)