He’s such a giant of the game of rugby league, and someone we’ve been proud to be associated with, for so long, it would be remiss of me not to mention the retirement of one of the game’s greats, Johnathan Thurston.
Towards the end of last year, I wrote about JT’s many achievements including being awarded the Human Rights Medal from the Australian Human Rights Commission. It’s worth re-reading this to be reminded of why he won it, and how well deserved it is.
On the weekend, JT played his final game of competitive rugby league. And, wow, wasn’t it just typical of him!?
With his beloved North Queensland Cowboys trailing the Gold Coast 18-6 at half-time, the 35-year-old magician turned it on one last time to orchestrate a come-from-behind win to make it 26-32 and to see him go out a winner in his final game. It was an absolute thriller of a game and no less than you’d expect for someone like JT who is so gifted, so resilient, so competitive.
Such was his mastery and control, it was reminiscent of three years ago. Who could forget that golden point field goal to win the 2015 premiership against Brisbane Broncos? If you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favour and watch this YouTube clip of the last 12 minutes of that grand final.
Across his career for club, state and country JT played 323 games, scored 2,222 point 923 goals. It is unlikely that there will be anyone else quite like him for a generation or so.
Of course for all that he is a wonderful athlete and competitor, he’s also a terrific person and a top human being.
JT told the media after the game that he was “privileged” to have been in a position to play the game he loves for the past 17 years and he uses his position in the community to try to make the world a better place.
Amen to that, JT. But the privilege has also been ours. All of us. Seeing you grace the footy field all that time, and seeing your interests and influence outside of the game develop, expand and make a difference.
On behalf of all of us at SKINS, I want to say thank you to JT and all those around him who support him. It has been wonderful for SKINS to be part of JT’s journey.
All of us wish you the very best for the future for you and your family.