Thurston eyes final item on bucket list

Nothing it seems will faze Johnathan Thurston in his quest to tick yet another item on his “bucket list” – winning the World Club Challenge in England.

Thurston could not hide his excitement over the prospect of downing English champions Leeds next weekend, saying it would rank alongside North Queensland’s historic NRL triumph.

Besides the bitter cold, Thurston said Cowboys great Matt Bowen told him there would be no warm welcome from the crowd either.

“He has let us know that they rip into you,” Thurston said of Bowen, who spent two years with English club Wigan.

“That’s part of the fun factor about going over there.

“None of the boys have experienced that.

“He (Bowen) got ripped quite a bit over there, calling him Fatty Bowen.

“It will be interesting to see what they come up with about our boys.”

But it will take more than some choice words to stop Thurston from completing his remarkable “to do” list when they take on Leeds on February 21.

Thurston collected a record fourth Dally M Medal, a third Golden Boot as world’s best player and inspired the Cowboys’ drought-breaking NRL title last year.

But the North Queensland co-captain said a WCC win would rival it all, especially after sacrificing the Indigenous captaincy ahead of Saturday night’s All Stars clash in order to focus on his WCC quest.

“It would be right up there with the rest of the achievements,” Thurston said of WCC success.

“I made the decision to stay with the Cowboys this week (instead of All Stars).

“To have an opportunity to go over there and play against the best is… on the bucket list.

“And it’s the one I want to tick off the list, that’s for sure.

“It’s an opportunity that doesn’t come around very often – we have to make the most of it.”

North Queensland lost bench utility Ray Thompson to an ankle injury at All Stars training on Friday.

“He will be missed over there,” Thurston said.

Thurston and co-captain Matt Scott emerged unscathed when they blew off the cobwebs in an 18-16 trial win over Queensland Cup team Townsville Blackhawks on Thursday night.

“Obviously very rusty. There is a lot to work on but the boys are looking forward to getting over there into a different climate and spending some time together,” Thurston said.

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