David Stuart

JT putting his hand up to lead players protest

RUGBY League's No.1 player, Johnathan Thurston, has put the NRL on notice he is willing to snub its prestigious Dally M Medal awards unless something is done to address player welfare and other long-standing issues.

The Cowboys skipper, in line to claim an unprecedented fourth Dally M Player of the Year award, turned up the heat on NRL boss David Smith on the eve of the 2015 finals series by publicly confirming he would lead a series of boycotts, which would also include players not attending the grand final breakfast.

Thurston, who revealed he had raised the boycott proposal himself, said he was fully behind a push to extend the break between seasons from six to eight weeks, and to put an end to five-day turnarounds between games.

The players also believe they deserve a pay rise following a record TV deal.

Players' Association boss Clint Newton said he hoped the matter was resolved before the grand final.