MILESTONE MAN: Johnathan Thurston will play his 250th game for the Cowboys tonight.
MILESTONE MAN: Johnathan Thurston will play his 250th game for the Cowboys tonight. BRENDAN ESPOSITO

Thurston hopes for another happy memory against Broncos

CHAMPION halfback Johnathan Thurston has a lifetime of great memories from his brilliant career - but his first game for the Cowboys isn't one of them.

On the eve of his 250th NRL game for the Cowboys tonight, co-incidentally against the same team, Brisbane, he spoke about some of the highlights of his time in the game, including that loss to the Broncos back in 2005.

"It was a Sunday afternoon in Brisbane. We were well beaten (29-16)," he said.

"It wasn't a memorable afternoon for me.

"But there have been some good ones since.

Those "good ones" included last year's epic golden-point grand final win against the Broncos, rated by many commentators as the greatest premiership decider of all time.

After missing a sideline conversion to win the game after the final siren, Thurston landed a field goal to give the Cowboys a 17-16 win.

"The premiership last year was obviously a memorable one," he said.

"Then there was a 2005 prelim (final) against the Eels. It was a memorable afternoon down there.

"No one gave us a hope in hell of winning that one and we ended up smashing them (29-0)."

Thurston said tonight would also be a massive occasion.

"It's sold out - the fans love it, the league loves it," he said.

"The fans love it because we let our footy do the talking and there'll be a lot of action on the field, for sure."

While Thurston is arguably the best player in the world, Broncos' playmaker Anthony Milford is fast becoming the game's next superstar.

He is this season's leading try-scorer with 10 in as many games, and a runaway favourite to claim the Dally M Medal.

But Broncos coach Wayne Bennett did his best to deflect the attention away from the gifted 21-year-old, teeing off at the media for supposed criticism of his pivot last year.

"When you (the media) asked me those questions last year it was about how unsuitable he was to play the game at five-eighth," Bennett said.

Bennett did not stop there, calling on the players to stand up to the NRL for their welfare during the gruelling upcoming Origin period.

"We've got a bigger challenge of just playing footy after the Origin. We've got to play three games in eight days with our best players involved in all of those games," he said.

"They (Origin players) are getting $30,000 a game so they shut their mouth (during Origin) and whinge about five-day turnarounds for the rest of the season.

"You can't have it both ways - until they (the players) want to get serious about what happens through Origin - then they have to live with the rest of it (five-day turnarounds during the season)."

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