Thurston cleared to play for Cowboys - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Thurston cleared to play for Cowboys

By Jim Morton 13/06/2008 03:14:56 PM Comments (0)

The battling Cowboys have received a major boost ahead of their must-win NRL clash against Newcastle with Queensland playmaker Johnathan Thurston cleared to play.

North Queensland coach Ian Millward hosed down speculation skipper Thurston would miss Monday night's home game due to a shoulder injury sustained in Wednesday night's Origin II victory.

The Maroons five-eighth injured his right shoulder early in the 30-0 shut-out of NSW but played brilliantly to be shaded for man-of-the-match honours by Greg Inglis.

Thurston will receive extra physiotherapy on the joint, as well as his other shoulder, over the weekend but Millward confidently declared his halfback would line up at Dairy Farmers Stadium.

"Johnathan Thurston is going to be fine," Millward said. "He's a tough competitor, he showed that with his two shoulder reconstructions last year.

"The shoulder is not as bad as first thought and the first thing he wanted to do when he got back from Origin was to play for the club.

"That's the attitude we want."

Thurston's performance at Suncorp Stadium was his best of the year and came on the back of widespread criticism following Queensland's 18-10 loss in the series-opener.

The Cowboys will need him to repeat the effort on Monday night for the 15th-placed club to revive their flagging finals hopes.

North Queensland's last win came over the New Zealand Warriors in round six and are coming off a 40-16 thumping by the Wests Tigers at Campbelltown last Saturday.

Thurston arrived back in Townsville on Thursday expecting to play for his club, which is missing back-up halfback Travis Burns through suspension.

"It's sweet, it pulled up fine," he told the Townsville Bulletin. "I'm definitely looking forward to it, hopefully we can get a win on Monday night."

Added to Burns' ban, the Cowboys are also missing Luke O'Donnell due to suspension while Matt Scott, Steve Southern, Matt Bowen and Justin Smith are all injured.

Millward has moved hooker-halfback Anthony Watts to fullback with livewire attacking machine Bowen indefinitely sidelined with a knee ligament problem.

Watts said the Cowboys were braced for a confident Knights outfit which sit one victory out of the top eight.

"I reckon they will come out all guns blazing," the 21-year-old Gold Coast product said. "We haven't been going the best so they will probably be a bit cocky towards us I suppose but we have to get out there and play our best."

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