NRL 9 months ago

Thurston to remain a Cowboy in 2018

  • Thurston to remain a Cowboy in 2018

    TOWNSVILLE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 16: Johnathan Thurston of the Cowboys celebrates victory after the first NRL semi final between North Queensland Cowboys and Brisbane Brisbane at 1300SMILES Stadium on September 16, 2016 in Townsville, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Johnathan Thurston has quashed speculation about his future, confirming he'll play on with North Queensland into the 2018 NRL season.

But the superstar Queensland playmaker says this year's State of Origin series will be has last, with the end-of-year World Cup also his last hurrah in Australian colours.

The Cowboys champion is off contract this year, but retirement or playing with a rival NRL club is off the table.

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"At this stage, it'll be an extra year next year," the 33-year-old Thurston told Fox Sports.

"I've spoken to the club to let them know that I'm keen to go again.

"But I've also spoken to (Australian coach) Mal (Meninga), letting him know that this will be my last year of rep footy."

The halfback's comments will be music to the ears of North Queensland with a string of stars off contract at season's end, including Thurston's co-captain Matt Scott and barnstorming forward Jason Taumalolo.

Thurston said his decision was difficult amid uncertainty around the 2018 salary cap.

While his 13th Origin series will be his last in the Maroon, the four-time Dally M award-winner has set his sights on the 2017 World Cup as a representative swansong.

"My goal is to warrant selection in the World Cup and make sure I make that squad," he said.

"The Cowboys have been great to me on and off the field.

"If I get through this year well, I'd like to put all my focus into the Cowboys."

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