NRL: Thurston ok with crowd chant

Johnathan Thurston. Photo / Getty Images
Johnathan Thurston. Photo / Getty Images

He's not one of rugby league's Immortals yet but North Queensland star Johnathan Thurston wears the "wanker" tag from opposition supporters as a badge of honour.

He revealed the slight - frequently used against Queensland icon and Immortal Wally Lewis during his playing days - was a crowd favourite when he visited Leichhardt Oval, which Thurston will do again when the Cowboys play the struggling Wests Tigers there on Friday.

"Thurston's a wanker - that's a good memory to take away," he said with a laugh on Monday when asked about his memories of playing at the suburban Sydney ground.

"Every time I play there, that's the chant that comes out. No doubt, I'll hear it on Friday night."

But rather than let it bother him, Thurston said he embraces the ribbing he gets.

"I kind of think I'm a good guy so it hurts a little bit ... no it doesn't - it's all part of the atmosphere.

"I quite enjoy it."

While expecting a similar reception for the round-11 clash, Thurston was also expecting a vastly improved opposition after the Tigers' humiliating 54-10 loss to South Sydney.

"It's a tough time to get them obviously after one of their worst performances in the club's history," he said.

"You know they'll look to bounce back and they've had a fair bit of success against us as Leichhardt Oval."

Thurston said he couldn't imagine playing the Tigers with their Kiwi star Benji Marshall on the bench.

New coach Mick Potter dropped Marshall to the interchange for the first time in his career against Souths, something Thurston said was hard to get his head around.

"I tried to relate if it was me in his shoes, how I would take it," he said.

"I was thinking about it and it wouldn't be nice, that's for sure.

"He's a world-class player and obviously his coach wants him to do a little more than what he's been doing.

"I think he'll bounce back and the Tigers will be primed for a big one."

Meanwhile, Cowboys teammate Matt Bowen put to bed rumours he was packing his bags and heading to the Gold Coast next season with the North Queenslanders yet to make him a new offer because of concerns over his knees.

Hours after the Titans knocked the weekend rumour on the head, Bowen made it official in Townsville.

"I definitely want to stay here and finish my career out here," said the Cowboys fullback who played his best game of the season in the club's 12-8 loss to the Sydney Roosters on Saturday night.

"I love the Cowboys and I love Townsville."

- AAP

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