Qld's forwards should lead Australia: JT - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Qld's forwards should lead Australia: JT

By Wayne Heming 03/07/2010 04:32:39 PM Comments (0)

Johnathan Thurston rates Queensland's forwards the best he has played behind and good enough to lead Australia in the end-of-season Four Nations tournament.

"I've played behind some pretty good packs but this pack is right up there with the best," declared the halfback, anticipating the Blues forwards, including rookie props Jason King and Kade Snowden, to fire up in front of a NSW crowd hungry for a win.

"I couldn't get the smile off my face after game two (30-6 win in Brisbane). I was just so proud of how they all played.

"A halfback is only as good as the forward pack and this is one of the best I've played with."

Lining up for his 18th straight Origin since 2005, Thurston concedes NSW have selected a strong forward pack led by Paul Gallen and Greg Bird who'll do their best to intimidate a Maroons team that is shooting for their first series clean sweep at ANZ Stadium on Wednesday night.

Gallen made his intentions known in Brisbane in the opening minutes with a high shot on 194cm prop Dave Shillington with Queensland centre Greg Inglis scoring the opening try after the penalty.

While the scoreline may suggest Queensland had an easy win in wrapping up a fifth series 2-0, a number of Maroon forwards have said it was one of the toughest clashes they'd been involved in for a few years with NSW trying everything to upset them.

"They did," said Thurston when asked if NSW employed some aggressive tactics.

"They really tried to upset us and put us off our game.

"There were hands and elbows in faces in tackles, they really pushed the boundaries to upset us and put us off.

"But our forwards rolled up the sleeves and gave it back, which is what Origin football is all about."

Thurston agreed with former Queensland and Australian star Steve Renouf that Queensland could just about supply all 17 starters for Australia in the Four Nations tournament starting in October.

"Definitely. Just look at how dominant Queensland has been over the last few years. Our forward pack hasn't got the raps they deserve," said the Cowboys skipper.

"Origin is the toughest arena, and those guys have stood up to the task every time. That forward pack certainly wouldn't look out of place if they were all named for Australia, that's for sure.

"The way they've been playing for their clubs and at Origin I think they all deserve to be picked."

Queensland, whose only injury concern is a head cut of Matt Scott's, will have an opposed session at the Hyatt Coolum resort on Sunday when they step up their preparations before heading to Sydney on Tuesday morning.

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