Dally M likely to raise glasses to an absent Thurston

CHAMPION Cowboys halfback Johnathan Thurston is the odds-on favourite to win a record fourth Dally M Medal tonight - only problem is, he probably won't be there.

Thurston finished his team's 32-12 win over Melbourne on the sidelines with a groin injury on Saturday night, but declared himself a certain starter for the grand final against Brisbane on Sunday.

The Cowboys flew home to Townsville yesterday, with the gifted playmaker saying another flight to Sydney before the premiership decider would be too taxing for him.

"It takes a lot out of you. We'll do what is best for the team," he said.

He also tried to play down the seriousness of the complaint, saying, "It's just a little bit of a cork to the groin, nothing too serious."

Earlier this month, Thurston said he would happily boycott the NRL's gala evening over an ongoing pay dispute between the governing body and the Rugby League Players Association.



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