The woman who told Johnathan Thurston to ‘clean up your act’
SHE is the woman who told Johnathan Thurston to "clean up your act" and in turn helped create the rugby league superstar's multimillion-dollar empire.
Eleven years ago, Samantha Thurston (nee Lynch) was the Cowboys' sponsorship manager and just friends with her future husband when she told him he needed a "legacy".
"You need to clean up your act," Samantha said to Thurston.
"Long term you need a legacy, your character will be your legacy, that's what people will remember."
It was in 2007 when she had the first of many conversations with Thurston about the importance of having a great character off the field as well as on it.
"It was always in him, he didn't do it because I told him to, it was just at times he just needed direction," she said. With Samantha's advice, Thurston began making an effort and in turn enjoyed engaging with sponsors and fans.
He began to use his status to help his community. Since meeting Samantha, he has also turned his attention to indigenous education, with his club running Cowboys House for indigenous secondary students as well as being involved in the Deadly Kindies program.
Last December Thurston was awarded the Australian Human Rights Medal for his work in Queensland indigenous communities.
Samantha continues to steer Thurston's career, they've since had three children (Frankie, Charlie and Lillie).
She says fatherhood has been the making of him.
Fans are eagerly awaiting the release of his autobiography later this year.