Qld play down Thurston concerns

Queensland have played down fitness concerns for Johnathan Thurston after the Origin playmaker eased his way through the Maroons’ opening training session nursing a hip complaint.

Thurston avoided contact work but took part in the rest of the first session under new Queensland coach Kevin Walters at their Gold Coast camp.

“Obviously he is a little bit restricted but we are a long way from game time,” Maroons assistant and recovering fullback Billy Slater said.

“And the fact that he is out on the field at this time of the preparation is a good sign.”

Slater – who confirmed he would not consider a comeback from a shoulder injury until next year – backed Maroons ironman Thurston to play his 34th straight Origin.

“I don’t think we will have a problem with JT,” he said.

“He’s experienced in this field and I am sure come game time next week he will be in tip-top shape.”

Thurston is nursing a hip flexor complaint sustained from a big hit from Brisbane prop Josh McGuire moments before the Cowboys half kicked the match-winning field goal in last week’s 19-18 NRL win.

Thurston has been reunited with McGuire in the Queensland camp.

“Him and Moose (McGuire) are talking again now,” Queensland centre Greg Inglis laughed.

“I said to Moose if you keep on hitting him no one will be able to kick the field goal.

“Everyone is bonding.”

Rookie winger Corey Oates has also stopped using a heart monitor as a precaution after missing the final half of Brisbane’s NRL loss to North Queensland due to dizzy spells and an irregular heart beat.

“He took it off second day of camp (Tuesday), the boys were paying him out – he’s fine,” Inglis said.

The Maroons centre did not find too much had changed under Walters, who took over from the legendary Mal Meninga.

“Kevvie has now stepped up to the plate, little things have changed in the scheduling here and there,” he said.

“But as far as showing the Queensland passion not too much has changed.”

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