JT saves Maroon selectors massive headache - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

JT saves Maroon selectors massive headache

Wayne Heming 27/04/2011 07:48:03 PM Comments (0)

Johnathan Thurston's offer to take over legend Darren Lockyer's No.6 jumper has spared Queensland selectors a massive headache next year.

Brisbane coach Anthony Griffin will have to work some magic to replace the club's icon in 2012 when the Broncos come face to face with the reality of life after Lockyer.

But dual Dally M winner Thurston has provided Maroon selectors dreading Lockyer's retirement with a perfect short- or long-term solution by volunteering to move from halfback, where he's played all 18 Origins and five straight series wins, into the famous No.6 jumper.

The switch would open the Origin door for either Melbourne's Cooper Cronk or the Gold Coast's Scott Prince to play halfback.

"The No.6 jersey has been worn by the legends of our game, Locky and Wally (Lewis). It's a jersey I'd certainly love to wear long-term if that's the way the selectors want to go," Thurston told News Limited.

Queensland selectors have privately been dreading the day Lockyer hangs up his boots, which he could do as Origin's most capped player in July should he contest all three games.

"He can see there isn't a stand out five-eighth out there at the moment," former Queensland centre and current selector Gene Miles told AAP when asked about Thurston's offer.

"That's the nature of this team, they'll make sacrifices for each other to try and continue the run they've got going."

Thurston's North Queensland coach Neil Henry, who until recently was Mal Meninga's right hand man and Origin tactician, backed Thurston's decision to move into Lockyer's role.

"In the modern game there's very little difference to being a halfback or a five-eighth," Henry told AAP.

"Most times they play either on the right side or left side in attack.

"JT would handle what would be a nominal change quite comfortably."

Henry pointed out that Thurston had played most of his football at No.6 before coming to the Cowboys.

"He was recruited here as anumber six from the Canterbury Bulldogs where the reason he wasn't playing five-eighth was because Braith Anasta was established in that position before moving to the Roosters.

"The reason JT started playing as a halfback was because Darren Lockyer was five-eighth in Origin level and the best chance for him to play regularly for Queensland was at halfback.

"It was around the time that Joey (Andrew) Johns was finishing up as a No.7."

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2023 AAP

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