Thurston ready to back up against Sharks

He lost five kilograms battling illness but North Queensland’s Johnathan Thurston reckons recovery time is not a problem ahead of Friday night’s NRL preliminary final against Cronulla at Allianz Stadium.

However, Cowboys coach Paul Green admits the same can’t be said for the rest of his team in the wake of their extra-time semi-final win over Brisbane.

Thurston revealed he had been battling a stomach bug after he inspired the match-winning try in their epic 26-20 triumph over the Broncos in Townsville last Friday night.

But the Cowboys playmaker revealed the full extent of the problem when he fronted the media in Townsville on Tuesday.

Thurston confirmed he needed halftime injections to settle his illness after being seen doubled over throughout the first 40 minutes.

“Yeah I got a couple of jabs … it certainly helped settle the guts down,” he said.

“I am feeling heaps better than I did yesterday – hopefully it is all gone now and I don’t pass it onto the kids.”

Thurston still somehow proved the difference in the sudden death semi-final to keep North Queensland’s title defence alive.

“It was one of the toughest games I was part of simply due to the fact I was not 100 per cent,” Thurston said.

“It is hard to stay in the moment when you are feeling like that.

“But when you look and see the rest of the boys busting their guts you don’t want to be the one letting anyone down – they get you through it.”

Thurston backed himself to be 100 per cent in the grand final qualifier.

“It’s taken an extra couple of days to recover from it but things are looking up for myself – I am feeling good,” he said.

However, Green admitted the jury was out on the rest of his team after enduring the first finals extra-time period since it was introduced this season.

They are racing the clock to recover from the 90 minute effort in tropical Townsville before lining up against a Sharks outfit fresh from a week off.

“I definitely think people don’t realise exactly what it (extra time) takes out of them physically,” Green said.

“We just hope it doesn’t take too much out of us at the back end of the game (against Cronulla).”

Green said they would be restricted to light runs this week in a bid to conserve energy.

“We don’t have too much opportunity to have much practice,” Green said.

“It (losing practice sessions) is always a big deal – how you train is how you play.

“But we have no choice but to make this week about recovery.”

Centre Kane Linnett (hamstring) returns but Javid Bowen has been named on the wing for Antonio Winterstein who missed last week with a rib complaint.

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