The looming departure of Corey Parker has led to Queensland playmaker Johnathan Thurston having second thoughts about his own State of Origin retirement.
Earlier in this year’s Origin series, Thurston, 33, appeared to confirm he would walk away from representative football after the 2017 World Cup.
However, the imminent Origin retirement of veteran lock Parker has brought mixed feelings for the Maroons’ talisman.
Parker will play his 19th and final Origin when Queensland vie for a rare series whitewash in Wednesday night’s game three in Sydney.
“It’s a bit harder to deal with because it feels like it (my own Origin career) is starting to come to an end,” Thurston said.
“But in saying that, I am in love with it like it is my first series.
“I will miss it – it’s quite special.”
Asked about walking away in 2017, Thurston said: “I am having second thoughts now.
“For me, it is about making it to the World Cup and making a decision after that – we will wait and see.”
Thurston will play his 36th straight Origin on Wednesday as Queensland look to seal their fifth series whitewash.
Age has not wearied Queensland.
They have won 10 of the past 11 series yet nine players on the wrong side of 30 will run out for the Maroons on Wednesday night following the selection of 30-year-old “rookie” Gavin Cooper for game three.
Thurston admitted it would be important for the Maroons to have staggered retirements so as not to leave a “void”.
Centre Justin Hodges retired last year while Parker has called time in 2016.
Thurston was not sure who was next cab off the rank.
“It would be a void if players retired at the same time,” Thurston said.
“But I am sure (coach) Kev (Walters) has a plan in place to limit the effect.
“The selectors and Kevvie would have learned from NSW years ago to have a succession plan in place.”
One player not considering retirement any time soon is 31-year-old prop Nate Myles.
The 30-Origin front-rower trained strongly with Queensland on Friday to all but confirm he had overcome a knee complaint and would take his place in the Origin III team.
Winger Dane Gagai (thigh) underwent sideline drills but was already a confirmed starter according to Walters.
“He (Myles) has played 30 Origins in the toughest position – when Nate stands beside you, you know you are safe,” Thurston said.
“If he starts, he knows what it takes. And if he is on the bench, it won’t be an issue for him.”
Thurston said Queensland hoped to cap their series triumph with their first clean sweep since 2010.
“I have only been part of one. It’s not often we are 2-0 up,” said Thurston.
“We have a great opportunity to create something special.”