No Christmas cards will be exchanged but Johnathan Thurston has no problem with NSW hitman Beau Scott, saying he wouldn’t be doing his job for Queensland if he wasn’t “sat on my backside”.
Thurston, 32, admitted he had nowhere to hide in Wednesday night’s State of Origin opener but relished the physical challenge posed by Scott in a monster Blues pack picked to “kick our front door in”.
Thurston backed his Maroons pack to “fight fire with fire” to counter Scott but ultimately did not believe anyone could protect him from the onslaught to come.
And it seems the veteran Maroons playmaker wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I don’t think so,” an honest Thurston said when asked if anyone in the Queensland team could look after him.
“(But) my role in the team is to go to the line and create opportunities for the boys around me and I need to be sat on my backside at times to do that.
“I enjoy that part of it. It’s a tough arena to play in.
“I have copped a fair bit of punishment over the years but I am still here.”
The veteran of 30 Origins did not have to be told what was coming in Sydney next week after scanning the beefed up Blues team list.
On paper Queensland appear to be outgunned with NSW’s all-forwards bench alone weighing 43kg heavier than their interchange.
And while NSW are without their “bash brothers” Paul Gallen (injury) and Greg Bird (ban), the Blues still look set to throw their considerable weight around through rampaging giants Andrew Fifita and David Klemmer.
“When you look at the size of their bench, it’s no secret they will try and kick our front door in,” Thurston said.
“(But) I have full confidence in our forward pack in matching them.”
Then there’s Scott.
All eyes will be on the Knights hardman’s approach to shutting down Thurston after the fallout from a now infamous NRL clash.
The Maroons pivot was left with a black eye after being pummelled by Newcastle’s Scott in the Cowboys’ round two match, prompting Queensland captain Cameron Smith to call for more protection for the game’s playmakers.
And Scott has made it clear while in NSW camp that he won’t be changing his aggressive approach after also raising eyebrows by targeting Queensland fullback Billy Slater in the past.
Not that Thurston was losing any sleep.
“Not really. It’s just part of his game – I am not the only one who cops it,” he said.
“You need to fight fire with fire (to counter it).
“But he’s a pretty tough, resilient bloke – we just need to be smart.”
Scott’s manhandling of Thurston almost looks personal from the outside looking in.
Asked if he got along with Scott off the field, Thurston said: “I know him enough to say hello.”
Expect a Christmas card?
“Um, no,” Thurston laughed.