State of Origin wins. World Cup victories. Dally M medals. Golden Boot awards.
There’s not much Johnathan Thurston hasn’t achieved in his illustrious rugby league career.
The 32-year-old is even an NRL premiership winner, playing as a utility bench player in Canterbury’s 2004 grand final triumph.
But that victory would pale in insignificance if Thurston can guide his beloved North Queensland to a maiden premiership to complete the club’s 20th anniversary celebrations.
This year’s finals series looks like the Cowboys’ best chance in a decade to break their title duck, with Thurston and his teammates aiming to go one better than the grand final defeat of 2005.
A third-place ladder finish has given the Cowboys the chance to upset Queensland rivals Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday to earn a home preliminary final in a fortnight.
Having stated his re-signing with the club on a four-year deal in 2013 had almost everything to do with taking the Cowboys to the top, Thurston knows he’s a real shot at achieving that aim this year.
“That’s what is driving me, to win a premiership with the club,” Thurston told Fox Sports.
“I’ve been here for, I think this is my 11th season now, so that’s why I get up every morning and come to training.
“I love being around the boys. I love the club to death, they’ve been so great to me, and that’s what is driving me – to win a premiership.
“That’s a big factor in why I stayed. Hopefully all things come true and we can get one this year.”
Thurston was a controversial no-show from the NRL’s finals launch in Sydney on Monday.
He says he stayed in Townsville to undergo scans on a groin complaint but has dismissed any suggestion he’s in doubt for Saturday’s clash.
“No need to be worried,” Thurston said.
“Felt a twinge in my groin in the game on the weekend so had to get some scans yesterday.
“From all reports it’s coming back sweet so just getting a lot of physio treatment on it and I’ll be right to play on Saturday.”