Johnathan Thurston
Johnathan Thurston Getty Images Sport - Warren Little

Coach praises sublime JT form

COWBOYS coach Neil Henry liked what he saw yesterday as star halfback Johnathan Thurston put on a man-of-the-match display in Australia's 30-8 win over England in the Four Nations final at Leeds.

Henry, in Mackay for a Cowboys junior academy, watched the second half of the game as Thurston scored a try and sparked the Kangaroos for a perfect send-off for skipper Darren Lockyer in his last match before retirement.

He said Thurston's form during the tournament, along with that of other Cowboys Matt Scott and Kalifa Faifai Loa, was a boost for the club as it builds towards next season.

Faifai Loa, who starred for the Cowboys' U20s this year, was part of the NZ Four Nations squad.

"He (Thurston) had a very good tournament, he created some good opportunities with his passing and backing up," Henry said.

"He and the others will have a very well-deserved break now and come back to start training on January 4."

Thurston won man of the match in three of his four appearances in the UK and is back to the form he showed at the start of the NRL season, before being sidelined with a knee injury.

In addition to scoring a try at Elland Road, Thurston kicked four goals to maintain his brilliant form with the boot, after missing just four conversions from 24 attempts.

Henry said Lockyer deserved every accolade he has received for an outstanding career.

"He is a champion, and he's gone out in a fitting way, winning while captaining Australia.

"I think his record will stand for a long time."

Lockyer's final act on the field, however, was to fluff an easy conversion after scoring the final try. "It just proves that he is human, after all," Henry said.

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