Johnathan Thurston hits back at NRL plea after Origin antics

The legendary Maroons player isn't going to tone anything down for Game III.

Johnathan Thurston talking to Cameron Smith and Thurston during broadcast.
Maroons legend Johnathan Thurston (pictured right) has revealed the NRL told him to not wear his heart on his sleeve during State of Origin. (Getty Images)

Maroons legend Johnathan Thurston has hit back at the NRL with a cheeky response after revealing he was told to rein in his antics on the sideline during State of Origin. Thurston is part of Billy Slater's coaching team having played with the fullback and been an instrumental part of Queensland's best ever Origin team.

Thurston is not only one of the game's all-time great players, but also one of the game's great characters. And he is often seen wearing his heart on his sleeve down on the sideline when supporting his state. During Game I in Adelaide, images showed the legendary halfback clearly enjoying his team's victory.

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And Thurston has revealed the NRL reached out to him about his behaviour amid his coaching role. While doing absolutely nothing wrong, Thurston admitted on the Billy Slater Podcast that the NRL had asked him to tone down his enthusiastic demeanour.

Thurston had only one response to this request. "I got a warning from the NRL, they sat me down and said I’m not allowed to wear my heart on my sleeve and I’m not allowed to do what I was doing," he said this week.

“I said this is Origin, I’ll do what I want,” Thurston joked. "I love State of Origin, I love watching rugby league. You know when we’re winning and we’re losing because of my emotions, you can certainly see those.”

Thurston is attempting to help Slater make history as a player and a coach. Having already wrapped up the series, Slater will become just the fourth person to be a part of a clean sweep as a player and coach if the Maroons win on Wednesday. There has only been seven clean sweeps in Origin history.

Johnathan Thurston celebrates a try.
Johnathan Thurston (pictured) is one of the game's loveable characters and currently is part of the Maroons' coaching set-up. (Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty Images) (Kelly Defina via Getty Images)

Brad Fittler could shake-up Blues on game day

While Thurston appears to be extremely comfortable in the Maroons set-up ahead of Game III, things are more tense in the Blues camp. Brad Fittler is reportedly looking at a late change for the Blues side, which could see the likes of Damien Cook drop out of the team.

Braith Anasta asked reporter Phil Rothfield if the rumours were true around Leniu entering for a player on the bench. And Rothfield suggested on Monday night that one of the hookers could be the unfortunate players to miss Game III if the suggestions are true.

“They say Spencer Leniu is going enormous and although he’s picked in jersey No. 19 there’s been a bit of speculation,” Rothfield said on NRL 360. “Well I’m told they’re having a little bit of a thought around the two hookers.

“To knock these buggers off, we’re going to need a rampaging middle forward coming on fresh, just like he does at Penrith.” Fellow reporter Brent Read suggested it would have to be Cook to miss out if Leniu was brought onto the bench.

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