Thurston honoured to be Cowboys’ cleaner

Embarrassed by the spotlight, Johnathan Thurston says cleaning up rubbish in the North Queensland dressing room is symbolic of the Cowboys’ culture cultivated by emerging super coach Paul Green.

Television cameras again caught the injured Thurston collecting drink bottles and teammates’ strapping tape after North Queensland’s stirring 29-16 preliminary final win over the Sydney Roosters on Saturday night.

Such domestic slavery is not a job associated with a future Immortal, but the superstar halfback cringes when asked about his selfless toil.

“I’m not the only one that does it,” Thurston told AAP.

“Other boys are doing it tonight, other boys have been doing it through the year so it’s only just me. It’s who we are as a club.”

Thurston credits Green for helping instil an all-for-one and one-for-all culture at the Cowboys, where no player is bigger than the team and excuses won’t be tolerated.

“Ever since Greeny’s arrived at the club, he’s made sure it was really strong with the leadership group, making sure that we didn’t have any excuses anymore and we’ve had to drive the standards at the club now,” he said.

“It’s been really good to watch these boys grow.”

The champion No.7 hasn’t forgotten the profound influence the late Graham Murray had at the Cowboys, but doubts the class of 2017 – without Thurston and injured fellow co-captain Matt Scott for much of the season – would be in another grand final if Green wasn’t at the helm.

“Obviously what ‘Muz’ did for the club early on, he’s the first coach of the club who took us to a final series and then a grand final,” Thurston said.

“Greeny’s delivered wherever he’s been. I don’t think we’d be in the position where in if he wasn’t head coach.”

Thurston admits he’s personally “devastated” to be sitting out the finals series – and ultimately the premiership decider – as he recovers from shoulder surgery in June.

But the four-time Dally M Medallist says watching the underdogs’ inspirational run to Sunday’s grand final against Melbourne has been anything but tough.

“It’s not difficult at all. I’m extremely proud of them,” said Thurston, who has been in the coaches box with Green each weekend.

“I’ve seen what they do every day week in, week out. It’s no surprise to me to see this group in the position that they are.

“They’re having fun and they’re enjoying it.”

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