Johnathan Thurston is set to miss Monday’s Dally M function in Sydney as he turns all of his focus towards securing a maiden NRL title for North Queensland.
The Cowboys powered into what will be a first all-Queensland decider by thumping Melbourne 32-12 on Saturday night at AAMI Park.
Thurston finished the match on the sidelines with a leg injury but declared himself a certain starter in the October 4 grand final against Brisbane.
The Cowboys will fly home to Townsville on Sunday morning, with the Dally M awards to take place the following evening in Sydney.
“It takes a lot out of you,” Thurston said on Saturday night when asked about the physical toll of regular flights.
“When you play away, the flight’s very hard on the body. It takes you an extra day or so, probably an extra couple of days or three days to recover from the flight.
“The bumps and bruises are a lot heavier than when you play at home so that’s a big factor.
“We’ll do what is best for the team.”
It was a sentiment echoed by North Queensland coach Paul Green, when asked whether Thurston would attend the Dally M function.
“The most important thing that is on next week is the game,” he said.
“That’s got to be a priority for us and anything outside of that becomes secondary.
“If we can manage to fit it in and, physically for JT to still be in a good position, the same as any other player, we’ll certainly look at it because it is a big night – it’s a great night; it’s an acknowledgment of our best best players in the game which is important.
“But also, as I said, next week is all about getting ready for a game of footy.”
Thurston is a short-priced favourite to win a record fourth Dally M medal after another stellar season.