The world of Rugby League.

rleague.com

Thaiday on collision course with JT

First it was NSW pivot James Maloney, now barnstorming backrower Sam Thaiday has his own Queensland State of Origin teammate Johnathan Thurston in his sights as he tries to keep the Broncos' NRL finals hopes alive.
Thaiday on collision course with JT
by AAP

By Laine Clark

BRISBANE, July 25 AAP - First it was NSW pivot James Maloney, now barnstorming backrower Sam Thaiday has his own Queensland State of Origin teammate Johnathan Thurston in his sights as he tries to keep the Broncos' NRL finals hopes alive.

Thaiday bulldozed Maloney early to set up the Maroons' game two win in Brisbane before maintaining the rage to help Queensland clinch a remarkable eighth straight series win in Sydney.

But barely a week after Thaiday toasted yet more Origin success with Thurston, the bustling Bronco was set on a collision course with his Maroons mate by Brisbane coach Anthony Griffin.

Brisbane received a blow before their must-win NRL clash with North Queensland in Townsville on Friday night when ex-Test prop Ben Hannant again succumbed to a calf complaint.

But instead of again slotting Thaiday into the front-row, Griffin opted for Mitchell Dodds and kept his captain in the second row on the right edge where he wreaked havoc against NSW - much to Thurston's amusement.

Asked about lining up against Thaiday in defence, Thurston laughed: "I am too smart for that mate - I will be on the wing."

Another triumphant Maroon - Canberra's Josh Papalii - did a similar demolition job on Thurston in the Cowboys' 26-18 NRL loss before the Origin decider.

However, Griffin said Thurston's class ensured Thaiday's "get JT" plan was not a guaranteed success in a match billed as their most important derby since their 2004 elimination final.

"He (Thaiday) was good (during Origin). They are both going to be on the same side of the field so he (Thurston) is going to have to tackle Sam a few times," Griffin said.

"Sam is going to be up against him but I doubt if JT will be in a similar mood defensively as he was against the Raiders.

"He said publicly he was disappointed with the way he defended that day."

In a warning for Thurston, Thaiday said he had returned from the Origin campaign fresher than ever.

"I am very happy we had the bye after Origin. I was very sore physically and mentally," he said.

"I don't think I watched any of the football over the weekend just because I wanted to get away from it - but I am glad to be back."

Like North Queensland, Brisbane must win six of their final seven games to remain in the finals hunt.

Griffin wielded the axe and the biggest scalps were Eels-bound fullback Corey Norman - dropped to the second tier Queensland Cup - and ex-NSW halfback Peter Wallace, who was demoted to the bench as reserve hooker.

On the dramatic changes, Thaiday said: "It's got to work otherwise I am playing five-eighth and no one wants to see that.

"We've got to find a solution and this is where we are going at the moment. We have confidence in the coach."


Your thoughts?


You need to login or register to contribute here



Follow rleague.com on Facebook

Related Profiles

View profile pages including statistics, results, news, photos and more on all of the following...

Popular News Stories