Cutting State of Origin ties is proving difficult for Queensland’s Johnathan Thurston.
And captain Cameron Smith believes the Maroons will only make it harder for his veteran playmaker by sealing a 3-0 Origin whitewash in Sydney on Wednesday night.
Thurston, 33, is having second thoughts about retiring from representative football following the 2017 World Cup after Queensland clinched a 10th series win in 11 years.
Smith did not sound surprised, saying he believed Thurston made an Origin call amid the delirious scenes that followed his NRL club North Queensland’s maiden premiership win last year.
Then the four-time Dally M Medallist was reunited with his Maroons colleagues again, and suddenly the decision was not so easy.
“I think after we won this year’s series it gave him a reminder of what it is like to taste victory and how special it actually is,” Smith said of Thurston.
“He’s probably had that (retirement) thought coming off a premiership, he waited a long time for that.
“He probably thought ‘I have achieved everything I want to achieve’.
“But six months later he is back in Origin and got that winning taste again and is reconsidering.”
Smith said he would support any decision by Thurston but urged the veteran playmaker to remain in Origin for as long as he could.
“If he wants to finish next year that is his decision and we will wish him good luck,” he said.
“But if he is playing well and still the best man for the job at No.6 I would like to see him play for as long as he can.”
Thurston will play his 36th straight Origin since his 2005 debut on Wednesday night, joining Darren Lockyer on equal second on the all-time games list behind only Smith (38).
Smith marvelled at the three-time Golden Boot winner’s endurance.
“He’s not the biggest bloke getting around … but he’s tough mentally,” he said.
“We all see the whacks he cops but he never stays down, he just gets on with the job – that is the sign of a special player.
“It’s a special effort in that position against the size of the blokes who are playing at the moment.
“We are all grateful he wears a Maroon jersey, no doubt about that.”