The future Queensland halves combination will be on show in Friday night’s NRL grand final re-match, Johnathan Thurston says.
But Thurston admits the make-up of that combination will depend on which rival camp you ask.
Brisbane have earmarked Anthony Milford and Ben Hunt as the Maroons’ “generation next” ahead of their re-match with premiers North Queensland.
However, Thurston said his Cowboys halves foil Michael Morgan had already staked a convincing claim.
Thurston admitted much would again be made about Queensland’s ageing side ahead of the State of Origin series.
Especially their halves.
Queensland pivot Thurston is 33 in April.
Maroons halfback Cooper Cronk will be the same age in December.
But Thurston said no matter which way you looked at it, the halves depth shown on Friday night indicated the future was bright for the Maroons.
“Everyone keeps talking about our age but we have a really good next generation coming through and that is very exciting for us,” Thurston said.
“Queensland are very blessed with the position we are in.
“We have great depth in the halves, DCE (Manly’s Daly Cherry-Evans) is another.”
Asked if he agreed that Brisbane’s Hunt and Milford were Queensland’s future halves pairing, Thurston said: “I think Morgo might have something to say about that.
“(But) Hunt and Milford are very dangerous.
“You can’t shut those type of players out of the game.”
Queensland great Darren Lockyer also liked what he saw from Cowboys pivot Morgan.
“Before Morgan it was shut down Thurston and you shut down the Cowboys,” Lockyer said.
“Thurston was the `go to’ man. He still is but Morgan adds another threat on the other side of the field.”
But Lockyer believed Thurston was not showing any sign of slowing down.
“He’s done it all in the game but he knows he can be better – that makes him the player he is,” Lockyer said.
“I think he just takes pride in his performance.
“That’s what motivates him each week. That’s what sets him apart.”