A few regrets for Maroons' Johnathan Thurston
Regrets, Johnathan Thurston may have a few after Queensland's underwhelming State of Origin series-opening loss to NSW.
But it seems revenge is now the motivating factor for the Maroons pivot ahead of their must-win game two clash at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday night.
Thurston's decision to nurse a groin complaint into Origin I backfired badly, reducing the Queensland playmaker to a shell of himself in NSW's 14-6 win in Sydney.
However, veteran Brent Tate said Thurston had not only regained full fitness but also a new lease on life following the birth of his first child - daughter Frankie Louise - last Friday.
Tate revealed that a fit-again Thurston was keen to make amends as Queensland's hopes of an eighth straight Origin title go on the line in Brisbane next week.
"I know JT. He'd be stinging after that first one because he's a competitor," Tate said of Thurston.
"When you take a step back and take a look at it, there was a lot going on for him last time (in game one).
"He obviously had the injury and was deciding whether he was fit enough to play in an Origin, so that's a lot of pressure in itself when you're making those decisions.
"Then he had his partner Sam back home with the birth of their baby."
Thurston was a shattered man after his record 25th straight Origin game was remembered for all the wrong reasons.
Apart from forcing halves partner Cooper Cronk to suddenly take on the lion's share of kicking, Thurston also proved a major liability in defence as the likes of backrower Luke Lewis (176m) ran amok on Queensland's left edge.
But rather than get mad, Thurston appears ready to get even.
Tate believed Thurston's stellar hand in North Queensland's last round 22-16 NRL win over the Dragons showed that their prized pivot was back to his best.
Stats don't lie - Thurston had a hand in all four of the Cowboys' tries and kicked three goals to end a run of five successive defeats.
"He played with lots of energy so all those distractions are gone now. He can just play footy," Tate said of JT.