Thurston grateful for Origin II reprieve - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Thurston grateful for Origin II reprieve

By Laine Clark 03/06/2008 06:43:33 PM Comments (0)

He may have been one of the few oblivious to the "Pick Scott Prince" campaign.

But Cowboys halfback Johnathan Thurston wouldn't have been surprised if he had fallen victim to it.

The North Queensland playmaker did not have high hopes for Origin II selection after an ineffective display in the series opener.

Considering his Cowboys' woeful NRL run amid the growing hype over Gold Coast No.7 Prince's Queensland claims, Thurston had every reason to feel down in the dumps.

Queensland selectors have announced four team changes for Origin II at Suncorp Stadium on June 11 - but again Prince missed out.

Thurston said he had paid no notice to the Prince bandwagon that had been rumbling along before Origin I, but admitted he was "grateful" he had been given another chance by selectors.

"I didn't really hear it (Prince talk). I don't read papers, don't listen to the news but no doubt he's been playing great football," Thurston said in Brisbane.

"I didn't have my hopes highly set on the (Queensland No.7) jersey.

"Our club form wasn't great and Princey's form has been great - I am just grateful of being in the side.

"I have to make the most of my opportunity. I can't sit back and think about why Scott Prince should be in the side or not."

No doubt the critics will be sharpening their knives after the out-of-sorts Thurston once again kept Prince out of the Maroons team for their must-win clash.

Especially after Thurston's Cowboys teammates Carl Webb and Jacob Lillyman lost their Origin spots due to North Queensland's poor form.

Maroons coach Mal Meninga was the first to admit Thurston was going through a "torrid time" but suggested a sure-fire cure - have fun next Wednesday night.

"I am going to tell him this week get out there and make it like he is in his backyard as a young kid - just get out there and enjoy yourself," he said.

"He is going through a torrid time at the moment, certainly with the Cowboys and his first game for us.

"But he is one of the most competitive people I have ever met and I know he will come up for game two."

Thurston agreed: "I have been trying hard at the Cowboys and I guess I just need to relax and just enjoy myself a bit more.

"There's no denying our club form hasn't been great and when that isn't great, individuals do suffer a bit.

"You just have to have faith in your ability and confidence that you will get the job done."

Prince was expected to become the Gold Coast Titans' first Origin player - but utility Ashley Harrison earned the honour.

Harrison took up the Origin II utility bench spot that at one stage Prince looked set to grab and may spend time in the halves next Wednesday night alongside Thurston.

Harrison admitted he wasn't the form player in the Titans team - it was Prince.

"Yeah, or definitely in the top two or three anyway - he's been great for us," he said.

"I feel for him but at the same time I get another opportunity at this level so I am very grateful.

"The selectors went another way and Princey will respect that.

"And all the (Origin) talk hasn't affected him. He's a 100 per cent professional - we know he will be concentrating on the Titans game on Monday."

Harrison earns his first Queensland nod since playing a solitary game in 2005.

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