I may follow Gasnier overseas: Thurston - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

I may follow Gasnier overseas: Thurston

23/07/2008 02:48:05 PM Comments (0)

Dual Dally M Medallist Johnathan Thurston admits he could follow Mark Gasnier and take up a big money overseas offer.

It has emerged that Thurston had been the target of a French rugby raid last year but the North Queensland skipper on Wednesday claimed he had first heard of the offer when he read a News Limited story on Sunday.

However, Thurston confirmed the European big bucks would be tempting when his contract expired at the end of the 2010 NRL season.

Gasnier shocked the NRL when he recently announced he would defect to French club Stade Francais on a reported $1 million a season deal, following a contractual wrangle with the Dragons over third-party sponsorships.

Thurston said more would follow if the NRL did not re-think third party arrangement for marquee players.

Under current rules, an extra $150,000 can be spread over up to six players without affecting the salary cap - but no more than $50,000 can be allocated to a player.

"If there are businesses or individuals who are willing to pay, for example, $100,000, $200,000 or even $500,000 a year to sponsor a player, I think we should give that the nod," Thurston wrote in his Townsville Bulletin column.

"Otherwise, I reckon we are needlessly losing some of the best players in our game.

"Maybe even me."

Thurston said he was happy at the Cowboys but admitted he would consider a big money offer overseas.

Thurston's agent Sam Ayoub told The Sunday Mail last weekend that a French club had come knocking last year and could not guarantee that the Maroons playmaker would finish his career in the NRL.

Cowboys boss Peter Parr has admitted the North Queensland can not get into a "bidding war" with cashed up European clubs but if Thurston decided to stay in the NRL he would remain loyal to the club.

"Until I read a story on Sunday linking me to a move to France at the end of my contract with the Cowboys in 2010, I had never really given much thought to the prospect," Thurston said.

"I am happy here in Townsville...but I'm not going to lie, if it came up and I was offered a deal when I am out of contract with the Cowboys, it is certainly something I might consider.

"By then, though, hopefully the NRL will have found a way to stop players being lured away."

Thurston is expected to return to light training this week as he recovers from knee surgery.

The Cowboys' woeful injury list has been extended by Ash Graham (shoulder).

He is the seventh Cowboy either injured or suspended, joining Thurston, Matt Bowen, Luke O'Donnell, Matt Scott, Jacob Lillyman and Justin Smith.

At least Test enforcer Carl Webb is back from an ankle injury for Friday night's away clash against Parramatta and O'Donnell is set to return from suspension next week.

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