Milestone men follow each other’s lead
WHEN Johnathan Thurston first rocked up to the Cowboys in 2005, a youngster with a love of a good time, being appointed club captain at just 23 seemed like a long shot.
But it's been the presence of his mate Matt Scott, the man they call 'Thumper' who has helped him become just as respected for deeds off the field as on it.
Thurston was made captain in 2007, and Scott joined him as co-skipper aged 25.
Scott was appointed mainly to help alleviate the off-field responsibilities on the champion halfback, with Thurston retaining the on-field leadership.
It's a model which has helped both men grow into the role, culminating in one of the more special occasions of their careers against Parramatta at 1300 SMILES Stadium on Friday night.
While Thurston's farewell home game will hog the headlines, it will also be Scott's 250th game, joining Thurston and Matt Bowen as the only players to reach the milestone for the Cowboys.
Their leadership was crucial in helping the Cowboys claim their maiden premiership in 2015.
"We complement each other extremely well. We're on the same page with a lot of things," Thurston said.
"He talks a lot during the week, and I talk a fair bit on the field. We've been able to bounce off each other.
"I was pretty young to be a captain of a club but I had great people around me, the likes of Bear (Paul Bowman) and Mango (Bowen) and Ty (Williams).
"A few years later Matty's leadership really started to take off and we complement each other extremely well."
Noted as one of the most competitive players the game has seen, Thurston likes to lead through actions.
But Scott has noticed other aspects of his captaincy away from the field flourish.
"He's one of those players that never doesn't put in and try his hardest," Scott said.
"It's the other side he's had to work hard at, the off field and trying to control his emotions a bit.
"He's a very emotional player, the losses hit him very hard and the wins.. it's a bit of a rollercoaster at times.
"Johnno's been a great help to me. He was thrown into it (captaincy) relatively young and I was inexperienced too, but we've helped each other.
"He picks the moments where he lets his emotions out and it's usually a real key time to motivate the side, or get a reaction from the team.
"That's something I've had to learn, and something he's been a real help to me with."
Thurston is at peace with his decision to hang up the boots at the end of the year, and said he hasn't broached the thought of having a final farewell for the revived Indigenous All Stars concept against the New Zealand Maoris in Melbourne next year.
"I've been copping a fair bit of flak from the boys about the farewell tour, so I think if I play next year I'll be (called) Johnny Farnham," Thurston said.
"I haven't spoke to Laurie (Daley, Indigenous All Stars coach) or anyone about it, I haven't really thought about it."