Johnathan Thurston sits on the cusp of making Dally M history but there is one glaring omission on his resume before his ascension to Immortal status is rubber-stamped – guiding a North Queensland side to a NRL premiership.
The Cowboys’ maestro is a shoo-in to have a record fourth Dally M hung around his neck on Monday night at the Star Centre in Sydney.
Penrith great and former Dally M medal winner Greg Alexander says it’s not a matter of whether Thurston will win, but by how much.
Should the count go as is predicted, Thurston will surpass Andrew Johns for most Dally M wins.
There are so many feathers in the cap of the the Cowboys, Queensland and Australian playmaker, it is in danger of falling off his head.
Golden Boot awards, State of Origin series and World Cup wins – there isn’t much he hasn’t done – except steer a team to a grand final win.
He was a part of the Canterbury side which won the 2004 trophy, but he played off the bench in that grand final and was a ‘bit’ player in their premiership charge, making just seven appearances that season.
Taking the Cowboys to a maiden premiership is seen as the final frontier for Thurston.
They lost the decider in 2005 and have gone close the past few years, knocked out of the finals by contentious refereeing decisions in three straight seasons.
But will his failure to win a title with the Townsville side affect whether he is accepted into the Immortal club?
Alexander says Thurston should “absolutely” be named an Immortal alongside Clive Churchill, Bob Fulton, Reg Gasnier, Johnny Raper, Graeme Langlands, Arthur Beetson, Wally Lewis and Johns.
“I don’t think he needs to win a premiership. It will just be the icing on the cake of a great career,” Alexander told AAP.
“This could be their last chance. They’ve been there the last four series but haven’t got to a grand final.
“I don’t think he needs to win a grand final to be regarded as one of the best – that would just rubber stamp it.”
Balmain legend and 1992 Dally M medal winner Gary Freeman said Thurston did not need to add another premiership to his list of achievements to prove his greatness.
“I look at week-in, week-out performances and not if you get judged by just one game at the end of the year,” Freeman said.
“I use the example of Nathan Hindmarsh. He played in two grand finals, but we remember what he did week-in, week-out.”
FEATHERS IN THE CAP – JOHNATHAN THURSTON’S CAREER ACHIEVEMENTS:
* Matches 264
* Points: 1762
* Dally M Player of the Year: 2005, 2007, 2014
* Dally M Halfback of the Year: 2005, 2007, 2009
* Dally M Five-Eighth of the Year: 2012, 2013, 2014
* Golden Boot Award: 2011, 2013
* RLPA Player of the Year: 2011, 2013-15
* State of Origin all-time highest point scorer
* Premierships: 2004 – Canterbury
* Runners-up: 2005 – North Queensland
* State of Origin matches: 33
STATE OF ORIGIN:
* Matches: 33
* Points: 200
* Man of the Match Awards: 5
Series wins: 2006-13, 2015
* Matches: 32
* Points: 332
* World Cup winner: 2013