North Queensland will again look to carefully manage Johnathan Thurston throughout 2016, amid fresh fears over burnout of the superstar playmaker.
Thurston was rested at various stages during the Cowboys’ successful NRL premiership campaign last year and the Clive Churchill Medal winner and Golden Boot Award recipient will look for more of the same this season.
Last week Greg Inglis, who battled a knee injury through the latter half of last season, revealed South Sydney were overwhelmed mentally and physically by the challenge of chasing back-to-back premierships in 2015.
“It’s always an issue within our game, player burnout and teams fading away towards the back end of the year,” Thurston said.
“I haven’t seen any complacency from our boys. We’re still working extremely hard so we’re in a unique position where we need to try and make the most of this opportunity that’s in front of us.”
Thurston said Cowboys coach Paul Green would again look to preserve his key player this season, especially over the highly-demanding State of Origin schedule.
“We haven’t spoken about it but if we put ourselves in a position where during that period we can rest some players then we’ll look to do that,” Green said.
“Whatever’s going to be best for the team we’ll do.”
Thurston admitted the rest he enjoyed last year was vital in the Cowboys winning their maiden premiership as they fought back from behind in the grand final against Brisbane, with ‘JT’ on hand to kick the match-winning field goal in extra-time.
“That rest was extremely important,” he said.
“When you’re backing up for your club you ride those emotions and it is tough to get up for games.
“But to be able to rest for a game and let the body settle down a bit does wonders for you towards the back end of the year. So if we put ourselves in the position then I’m sure talking to Greeny we’ll look to do that again.”