Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
Jonathan Thurston will forever be remembered as one of his generation’s greatest players who achieved so much throughout his career.
However, there is still one accolade that eludes him and it is none other than Rugby League’s greatest individual honour and that is being named an Immortal.
The current list of Immortals stands at just 13 which goes to show how good one must be to join such an exclusive club and Thurston has quite the resume.
After impressing as a prospect at the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs Thurston sought pastures new back in his home state of Queensland when an opportunity presented itself at the North Queensland Cowboys but he did not leave Sydney without first winning the 2004 NRL Grand Final with the Bulldogs.
In 2005 Thurston had one of his best seasons ever as he led the Cowboys to their first Grand Final whilst also making his Queensland State of Origin debut and winning his first Dally M Medal.
Following this immaculate season, Thurston went on to cement himself as one of the best players in professional Rugby League by continuing to rack up individual accolades.
He was still yet to lead the Cowboys to their first premiership though, something that many fans saw as a reason to dismiss just about everything he had already achieved.
While Thurston himself was consistently putting on world-class performances there were times when North Queensland suffered dreadful seasons but that all came to an end in 2015.
After captaining the Cowboys to their fifth straight finals series it was time for Thurston and his side to push further than they ever had before and win their first premiership which they did with the legendary halfback kicking the game-winning field goal and receiving the Clive Churchill Medal.
He made his debut for the Queensland State of Origin side in 2005 and went on to play 36 consecutive matches for the Maroons where he was a key component in the side that won 11 series over 12 years. At the end of his Origin career, he played a total of 37 matches, won five man of the match awards and holds the State of Origin all-time highest point scorer record with 220 points.
He came off the bench to make his International debut for Australia in the 2006 Anzac Test against New Zealand and went on to represent the Kangaroos on 38 occasions. He was the top point scorer at the 2008 Rugby League World Cup where his was named man of the match in the opening game of the tournament. During the 2013 World Cup, he played in five matches, winning the man of the match award an astounding four times including in the Final where Australia reclaimed the World Champions title against New Zealand after their 2008 loss to the Kiwis. He also won Rugby League World Golden Boot Award for best international player three times in 2011, 2013 and 2015.
Thurston is also one of the Dally M awards ceremony’s most coveted individuals having received an astonishing 14 individual honours at the event over the years including the Dally M Captain of the Year in 2015, the Provan Summons Medal in 2014 and 2015, the Dally M Five-eighth of the Year in 2012, 2013 and 2014, the Dally M Halfback of the Year in 2007, 2009, 2009 and 2015 and the Dally M Player of the Year in 2005, 2007, 2014 and 2015, with Thurston the only player to have ever received four Dally M Medals.
Dally M awards are not the only honours Thurston has received though with the 39-year-old also a four-time RLPA Player of the Year, the Rugby League Week Player of the Year in 2007, a three-time Golden Boot winner, the 2008 Wally Lewis Medallist, the 2012 Ken Stephen Medallist and the 2013 Harry Sunderland Medallist.
His plethora of accolades as an individual and as part of a team for club, state and country more than qualifies Johnathan Thurston for Immortal status.