Move over Wally Lewis, Johnathan Thurston is rugby league’s new king.
At least that’s the opinion of North Queensland’s Test prop James Tamou, who heaped praise on the Cowboys co-skipper the day after their team’s extraordinary NRL grand final triumph.
“I told him he was the king,” said Tamou on Monday. “It’s well deserved.
“I don’t know how to describe it, before this game I thought he was the best player in the world … but right now he is just unreal. He really deserves it, it just puts a stamp on his career.”
Thurston backed-up his stellar season, which included 37 try assists and 30 line break assists, by becoming the first man since Peter Sterling in 1986 to claim the Clive Churchill Medal in the same season as the Dally M Medal.
The 32-year-old had a hand in the match-leveling try against Brisbane, evading a number of defenders before getting the ball away to five-eighth Michael Morgan just seconds before the final siren.
And although he missed the kick to win it from the sideline, his golden-point field goal ensured he owned yet another chapter in rugby league folklore.
“He has done everything,” Tamou said. “He’s in the highlights of everything and he’s in the lowlights.
“And what I mean by that is he’s in everything.
“He chases everything down, he just does everything on the field and people don’t see that.”