Mystery surrounds the true extent of a groin injury to North Queensland superstar Johnathan Thurston ahead of Saturday’s NRL preliminary final against Melbourne.
Thurston took the injury into the Cowboys’ qualifying final loss to Brisbane two weeks ago and didn’t appear to be hampered by the complaint.
But in last week’s semi-final thumping of Cronulla the sharpshooter put in one of his worst ever performances in kicking at goal, leading to questions over his fitness.
Fullback Lachlan Coote also took over a larger portion of the general play kicking from Thurston.
Thurston has avoided fully answering questions on his condition in the lead up to the clash with the Storm at AAMI Park, but the doubts remain.
However the Australian and Queensland playmaker has confirmed he will kick at goal on Saturday.
Thurston missed last year’s Four Nations campaign due to a shoulder injury and to rest up ahead of this NRL season. He was rested by Cowboys coach Paul Green during the State of Origin period in a bid to ease the workload on the player many consider the best in the game.
Either way the Storm are sure to test out Thurston’s fitness in the match to see who goes through to the grand final.
Green said he was expected his player to rise to the occasion.
“All your big games you need your best players playing well, so we need him on song as well as our other player and Melbourne need their good players as well,” Green said.
“He has played in plenty of big games and he knows what is needed.”