Maligned superstar Johnathan Thurston has revealed he turned his back on overtures by a Sydney NRL club, which stood to net him $1 million a year, to see out the three-year deal he signed with the Cowboys in May.
Despite being forced to front the board after being charged with public nuisance in Brisbane in September – a charge that has since been dropped – and threatened with losing the captaincy, the 27-year-old Queensland and Kangaroos halfback said he couldn’t turn his back on the club that made him a NRL star.
The proposal adhered to salary cap regulations and the only thing that blocked the move was Thurston’s conscience.
”Yeah, that’s right,” Thurston admitted . ”There was all this media speculation of me getting sacked from the Cowboys and all this kind of crap. It was obviously very difficult for me at the time.
”There was a fair bit of interest and it was all going through my head. But for my long-time future, I thought the best option was to stay in North Queensland. I love living here, and I love the club, and I want to help turn the club around and hopefully stay here until I retire.”
The Parramatta Eels were rumoured to have been the Sydney club chasing Thurston if he did get released. The Eels had also been linked to Cowboys centre Willie Tonga who is now off limits due to the recent injury to Australian Test centre and new Cowboys back line partner Brent Tate.