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Thurston set to back up for Cowboys

Writing another chapter in Queensland State of Origin folklore is no mean feat.
Thurston set to back up for Cowboys
by AAP

By Laine Clark

BRISBANE, June 28 AAP - Writing another chapter in Queensland State of Origin folklore is no mean feat.

But North Queensland coach Neil Henry has cheekily requested more of the same from his inspirational Maroons pivot Johnathan Thurston against Cronulla in Townsville on Sunday night.

In scenes reminiscent of Trevor Gillmeister in 1995, Queensland playmaker Thurston overcame an overnight hospital stint with severe stomach cramps to spark the Maroons' ruthless 26-6 Origin II win over NSW on Wednesday night.

The pain was so bad that Thurston feared he might have appendicitis and spent Origin eve at hospital on a drip after becoming severely dehydrated.

Not that you could tell - Thurston ran rampant against NSW, setting up both of winger Darius Boyd's tries with sublime cut-out passes.

It's a hard act to follow.

But it seems someone forgot to tell Henry as the Cowboys (13th; 5-9 record) look to reignite their NRL finals hopes against the Sharks.

Asked what was expected from Thurston on Sunday night after his traumatic Origin lead-up, Henry smiled: "We want the same again.

"We need to win a game of footy and he's a big part of the team.

"(And) he prides himself on his ability to back up (from Origin)."

Thurston failed to back up from Queensland's Origin I loss due to a groin complaint but returned with a vengeance in the Cowboys' last-start NRL win over St George Illawarra in Wollongong.

Henry said Thurston looked as determined as ever to repeat those heroics against the Sharks despite being rested from Friday's field session.

Thurston has been cleared to play along with Queensland teammate Matt Scott and Brent Tate.

"Our medical team said they will be fine. Obviously, they will be a bit fatigued but they will be in good spirits after a good win," Henry said.

Someone forced to watch that win from his lounge room was NSW prop James Tamou, who finally makes his Cowboys return following a drink-driving ban.

It could not have been timed better as Henry looks to nurse co-captain Scott through the Sharks clash after his brutal Origin display.

"He missed Origin and you could see how disappointed he was on the sidelines at the Dragons game," Henry said of Tamou.

"But he has sat out his time and he is jumping out of his skin."

Of Tamou's Origin III prospects, Henry said: "I think he will want to make sure (NSW coach) Laurie (Daley) picks him for the right reasons, that he is playing good footy and he deserves to be in that team.

"I think he will be looking to step up and play some good footy for the Cowboys."


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