Australian and Queensland legends Cameron Smith and Johnathan Thurston will be recognised for their incredible contribution to rugby league in a special testimonial match to be played ahead of the 2018 season.
Smith’s Storm will take on Thurston’s Cowboys at Suncorp Stadium next year, the start of JT’s final year in the NRL.
“A Night with Cameron Smith and JT” will take place in the 2018 pre-season, on Friday, February 23, with the players announcing Cowboys Community Foundation supported ‘NRL Cowboys House’ as well as Ovarian Cancer Australia and Prostate Cancer Foundation as charity partners for the event.
The match will be broadcast on Fox League and will also be the first time the teams face each other since the 2017 NRL grand final, which Smith’s Storm won 34-6 over a Cowboys side playing its second grand final in three years after losing co-captain Thurston to a season-ending shoulder injury in Origin II.
Individually, the achievements of the two club captains already have them set to be future Immortals of the game, however, collectively, their resume reads as 657 club games (which includes grand final wins), 59 Origins, 89 Tests, 10 All-Star appearances, 6 Dally M Medals, 5 Wally Lewis Medals and 2 World Cups; records that are likely never to be matched.
Both players’ dedication to rugby league is matched only by their dedication to giving back to the community, so both men are thrilled to be able to support these deserving charities with a portion of ticket sales being donated to the three charities.
Thurston has selected the Cowboys Community Foundation supporting the ‘NRL Cowboys House’ and is excited to be able to support a charity he feels strongly about.
“NRL Cowboys House provides housing and access to education for young indigenous boys from remote NQ communities, who otherwise would may not have had the opportunity to complete a secondary education,” Thurston said.
“I am thrilled that this Testimonial Match gives me the opportunity to further support this generation-changing initiative of the Cowboys Community Foundation.”
Smith, who has selected Ovarian Cancer Australia and Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia, said he was delighted the match has given him the opportunity to support charities he is passionate about.
“I have been an Ovarian Cancer Australia ambassador for several years through the Storm’s link with the organisation and its founder Nicole Livingstone. The organisation works tirelessly to educate women and support those affected by it.
“I have also decided to support Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia. A member of my family has been affected by the disease and men’s health is not something that is often spoken about, so if I can create some awareness not only around prostate cancer but men’s health in general, then that’s something I’d like to achieve as part of this Testimonial match.”
The pair will celebrate a combined 32 years of professional rugby league next season, and having played together as both team-mates and fierce opponents for more than two decades – it is fitting they can celebrate their careers together in the city that started it all for them both, Brisbane.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was to have the game played in Brisbane, at the stadium where both players have achieved so much throughout their career.
“Cameron and Johnathan are outstanding ambassadors for their club, their State, their country and the game of rugby league. They are also selfless contributors off-the-field,” the Premier said.
The match will provide fans with an opportunity to pay tribute for the contributions they have made to the national team, state team, their clubs and rugby league in general.
It will also be a chance for both Smith and Thurston to thank the fans who have supported them throughout their careers, ahead of what is set to be a memorable season for both men.
The event will include game-day entertainment and fan activations involving Smith and Thurston with exciting announcements around these components to come.
Tickets will go on sale for general public on Friday, October 13 via Ticketek. Cowboys and Storm members will be able to access tickets via a pre-sale on Thursday, October 12.
--> Press Release from 'A night with Cam and JT'