Widely acknowledged as one of the top players in the NRL, North Queensland skipper Johnathan Thurston was on Monday night named as the game’s hardest worker off the field as well.
Thurston was awarded the Ken Stephen Medal at the One Community awards, presented to the player who made the greatest contribution to the community this year.
It capped off an impressive year for the Australia, Queensland and North Queensland five-eighth.
As well as piloting his Cowboys to the semi-finals, Thurston finished fourth in the voting for this year’s Dally M award, and was named five-eighth of the year.
The two-time Dally M Medal winner’s latest honour was for his hard work helping a wide range of community activities – primarily his commitment to helping Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students through workshops.
“Hopefully I’ve been able to use my profile to show these kids how important it is to stay in school and get an education,” Thurston said.
“If you achieve that, then there are so many things you can look at doing as an adult.
“I was the first person in my family to finish year 12 and it’s something that I’m very proud of.
“No doubt it’s helped me with my football and other areas around footy that I received the education that I did.”
Thurston won the award ahead of Canberra five-eighth Terry Campese and St George Illawarra’s Jason Nightingale.