Thurston, Tallis back Jones' NRL return - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Thurston, Tallis back Jones' NRL return

07/11/2008 08:33:45 PM Comments (0)

Current Test halfback Johnathan Thurston and former Australian captain Gorden Tallis have endorsed Stacey Jones's shock decision to come out of retirement and play for the Warriors next season.

The hero of New Zealand's 2005 Tri-Nations final upset over Australia, Jones, 32, stunned the rugby league world on Friday revealing plans to saddle up again after being approached by Warriors coach Ivan Clearly.

Jones retired in 2005 after 238 NRL games with the Warriors and 46 Tests for the Kiwis.

However he realised how much he missed the game after playing for the All Golds invitational team against New Zealand Maori in New Plymouth last month.

"He's a quality player and he'll certainly bring some direction to the club," said Thurston, keyed up to play for Australia against PNG in front of his home crowd at Dairy Farmers Stadium on Sunday.

"He's right up there. He's played for his country and been a great players for the Warriors for a long period of time. I always found it tough going up against him."

With the Warriors saying farewell to inspirational skipper Ruben Wiki this year, Jones's return will be a massive boost to the club and provide them with the leadership they would have lacked.

"Rubes (Wiki) was very well respected and the boys all looked up to him and it will be no different with Stacey who will inspire the boys to do well.

Tallis, who said most players wished they could play forever, backed the comeback by his one time rival at club and Test level.

"He was a champion player," said Tallis who jokingly suggested Brisbane would have to trot out its champion No.7 Allan Langer against him next season.

"I played with Allan Langer at 37 and Stacey is the New Zealand version of Alfie. I would never write him off.

"If he plays at 80 or 90 per cent and gets the Warriors around the park, that's what they've struggled with at times, getting the ball in the right place at the right time.

"I don't think it's a silly move and I'm really looking forward to it. It'll be a bit of a buzz because he left on bad terms because he may not have liked the coach.

"Now he's back and it's like the prodigal son has returned after they lost Ruben (Wiki).

"He went overseas and I thought it was

premature because the Warriors jersey always suited him.

"If he still thinks he can compete and his body can hold up, good luck to him."

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