I could be a Wallaby, insists Thurston - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

I could be a Wallaby, insists Thurston

By Wayne Heming 15/12/2009 08:04:09 PM Comments (0)

Australian Test halfback Johnathan Thurston won't be banned from Queensland selection next year if he decides to defect to rugby union for 2011.

Thurston is off contract at North Queensland next season and has sent shockwaves through the NRL by declaring: "I could easily see myself being a Wallaby."

His manager is currently entertaining offers from rival clubs and codes, with reports Thurston could earn over $1 million per season in rugby.

Queensland chairman of selectors Des Morris says while a switch to rugby for Thurston would be very disappointing, it would not harm his chances of playing Origin for the Maroons next year.

"We can only pick them on their form next year, hopefully rugby league will keep him," said Morris.

While Thurston's comments could only be a smokescreen to beef up his NRL contract, his potential defection has the potential to destabilise the rampant Maroons Origin side.

With long-serving captain Darren Lockyer contemplating representative retirement this year, Thurston's future could have serious ramifications for Queensland as they seek to extend their series dominance to five straight years.

The two-time Dally M winner and North Queensland captain is already under threat from Gold Coast halfback Scott Prince and Melbourne's Test understudy Cooper Cronk.

If Lockyer and Thurston both depart selection reckoning, it would rob Queensland of one their most successful halves partnership.

Only Allan Langer and Wally Lewis (11 wins from 14 Origin games and four series wins) have a better record than the Thurston-Lockyer partnership which combined to win three series (2006-07 and 2009), winning seven of their 12 games in the halves.

"It could happen, but no-one's bigger than that game," said Morris, disappointed to hear Thurston openly talking about rugby union as an option.

"From a rugby league person I am disappointed that that's how some players feel these days."

Morris said selectors would respect Lockyer's decision if he decided it was time to quit next year.

"Darren's played well for so long for us but everyone has to retire at some stage," he said.

"He has to look after his body as much as he can. He's not a big guy and he's done a great job forever, he has played over the last 10 to 12 years.

"We wouldn't want him to go if he felt he'd done enough.

"Darren's been the guy that's made the difference in a lot of instances.

"But we've got some young players like Cooper Cronk and Scott Prince and others who you don't look at because you don't have to."

Thurston said he had to do what was best for him and if that was playing rugby, he would.

"You don't like hearing rugby league players saying that," said Morris.

"It's not as if some of these blokes are on struggle street."

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