Thurston responds to Origin comeback speculation

Johnathan Thurston has responded to a State of Origin SOS following Cameron Smith’s retirement bombshell.

With Smith, Thurston and Cooper Cronk all electing to concentrate on club footy, the Maroons have lost 101 Origin games worth of experience in one fell swoop.

A number of fans and experts have called on Queensland coach Kevin Walters to bring Thurston back out of retirement to ease the leadership drain.

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Former players Gary Belcher and Scott Sattler were among those calling for Thurston to reconsider his decision on Tuesday and lace up the boots in the Origin arena one more time.

But the Cowboys star categorically denied considering backflipping on his rep retirement on Wednesday.

“I’m no chance,” Thurston said on Wednesday.

JT and Smith. Image: Getty

“They would be scraping the barrel if Queensland came back to me.

“Kevvie hasn’t contacted me at all and I don’t think he would.

“I haven’t been kicking well either so I’d probably get the cut from that (goalkicking duties).

“My representative career is well and truly over, let me make that clear.”

Thurston said the new brigade of halves are more than ready to fill the void.

“We have some halves on fire in Ben Hunt at the Dragons and Cameron Munster at Melbourne and Morgo (Michael Morgan) can get the job done.

“DCE (Daly Cherry-Evans) is another option and there’s Anthony Milford, so we have loads of depth there.”

Thurston also said he opened a bottle of wine when the call from Smith came through to inform him he was retiring.

The North Queensland legend gave a glowing tribute to his fellow Queensland great after Smith’s decision to focus solely on his club football.

The two might be rivals in the NRL with the Cowboys and Melbourne but they have a lifelong friendship after creating a State of Origin dynasty for the Maroons, who have won 11 of the past 12 series.

“He’s been a big part of my life and our families’ lives as well,” he said.

“The memories we’ve shared on and off the field are quite special.

“I totally understand where he is coming from (by retiring).

“The amount of games he has played and the position he has played is a testament to the person he is and the character he is.”

with AAP