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Thurston: 'To have my final memory wearing that jersey, it was quite emotional'

If there is something Johnathan Thurston, Greg Inglis and Matt Scott have in common, it's a love and passion for the Queensland Maroons that is as strong today as it was when playing. 

The trio sat down to film the fourth and final instalment of Masters of the decade, reflecting on State of Origin between the years of 2010 and 2019. 

One lingering memory for Thurston is his 37th and final game donning the Maroons jersey... State of Origin, Game II, 2017. 

Thurston, who had injured his shoulder during the game, was tasked with converting Dane Gagai's late try, which had taken the score to 16-16; his successful conversion sealed the win for the Maroons and made Game III at Suncorp Stadium a decider. 

"The kick before was in a similar position... as a goal kicker from this side, I liked the ball going through the black dot and the right upright," Thurston said. 

9 - JT's clutch conversion

"The kick before was between the black dot and left upright, so I made that adjustment and again, you just go through your routine.

"I'm not thinking about it being 16-16, I'm thinking about my routine, what I do, where I'm aiming, how I'm going to strike the ball. And then, once I do that, I just visualise it and do it for real.

"This was one of those moments when, as a goal kicker, when it comes off the boot, you just know it's going through."

Thurston, Origin's top points scorer with 220 points, said it was "a fair memory to have" as his final moment in maroon, but it still hurt not being able to finish up at Suncorp Stadium. 

"I remember getting the scans and talking to our physio back in Townsville... I remember pleading to him 'just give me two more games and I'll retire, I'll finish'... that's all I wanted. To 'get the 300th, finish at Suncorp and then I'm content'," Thurston said. 

"He said 'I can't let you do it' and I'm like 'why?'... and he goes 'well the amount of damage you'll do to it, you won't be able to pick your kids up' and that just put life into perspective for me.

"I remember I jumped in the car and phoned the wife and it was pure silence all the way home. I broke down when I got home, but yeah, it was tough... but again, to have my final memory wearing that jersey, it was quite emotional.

"Game III when Smithy called me up on stage to stand beside him and lift the shield with him as well... yeah, it was a very emotional week, that's for sure."

26 - Cam and JT lift the shield together

Thurston said he loved the Maroons like a second family. 

"It's a unique group to be a part of... it's an honour and a privilege to be a part of it," Thurston said.

"To be in that era of dominance, with the players we had around us, was quite special. To play so many games, and be part of so many memories, it will never leave me, that's for sure. It's quite special and unique."

Masters of the decade is a four-part series that sees 12 Queensland legends sit down and reflect on the four decades of Origin.

Mal Meninga, Rohan Hancock and Greg Dowling reflect on the 1980sKevin Walters, Ben Ikin and Steve Renouf reflect on the 1990s; Justin Hodges, Darren Lockyer and Petero Civoniceva reflect on the 2000s; and Inglis, Thurston and Scott reflect on the 2010s.

The series is rolling out on and the Queensland Maroons Facebook page in the lead up to State of Origin Game I.

Next up is the 2000s on Wednesday at 7.30pm. 

Masters of the decade: 2000s

The final Masters of the decade episode - the 2010s - will air on Wednesday, October 28, at 7.30pm.

Acknowledgement of Country

Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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