Finally, State of Origin ironman Johnathan Thurston is showing signs of rust.
But Queensland fans need not panic.
Thurston – who has played a record 31 straight Origins for Queensland – will be sidelined for Saturday night’s NRL clash with Cronulla in Townsville.
But only after Cowboys coach Paul Green put his foot down and asked his star halfback to rest a shoulder complaint sustained in Queensland’s 26-18 game two loss.
Thurston played after that match, booting the last gasp field goal in the 21-20 win over the Raiders as the Cowboys secured their 11th straight victory.
But that was that for Green.
“We knew it (shoulder injury) was an issue going into the game so how he was going to pull up after was something we were never really sure of,” Green said of Thurston.
“It’s still pretty sore so at this stage we will look to rest him.”
Asked if Thurston needed some convincing, Green said: “Yeah, but he was feeling pretty beat up after the (Origin) game.
“He was more adamant about playing last week than he was this week.
“Ultimately it was my decision.
“But as I have said all along, it’s about the bigger picture.”
Green insisted Thurston would only be sidelined for one week.
Thurston’s Queensland teammate Michael Morgan returns from a shoulder complaint to slot in at halfback with regular hooker Rory Kostjasyn at pivot.
Green admitted 18th man Robert Lui was on standby for Morgan but was confident his make-shift No.7 would help inspire yet another Cowboys win.
“Luckily we are not in a position where we have to win every game,” Green said of joint ladder leaders North Queensland.
“We are putting a very competitive team out there. I am replacing an Origin player with an Origin player.
“I know we have the gameplan to compete with Cronulla this weekend.”
Meanwhile, young forward Patrick Kaufusi is poised to make his NRL debut off the bench for North Queensland.