NRL Expert @JennaBrooks
Inside the NRL: Injury ends Johnathan Thurston's Origin career
Last Updated: 26/06/17 2:48pm
Jenna Brooks has the latest news from the NRL as Jonathan Thurston comes to terms with the end of his representative career, plus the Roosters look to expand the game in South Australia.
The biggest news coming out of the NRL is Jonathan Thurston's season-ending injury.
Thurston, who re-injured his shoulder in Queensland's Origin II win, will undergo surgery that rules him out for around six months, robbing him of his farewell appearance in both a Queensland and Australia jersey.
"I wanted to finish on a high this year with representative football," he said. "I'm comfortable with that decision I've made to retire from rep football.
"I would love to play at the World Cup but it's not the reality."
Thurston hurt his shoulder when making made a tackle on New South Wales forward Tyson Frizell, but that didn't stop him. He played on for 50 minutes in pain, eventually kicking a pressure conversion to win the game for the Maroons and send the series into a decider.
"It was just direct contact to the point of the shoulder [by Frizell]," Thurston said. "It just felt like a cork to be honest. The arm obviously went numb and a bit dead.
"I could still lift my arm, I was obviously in a bit of pain, but with the adrenaline pumping in that arena, you just play through that pain.
"I got through the pain and things were looking good the next morning. I could lift my arm above my head, obviously rotate it and things like that.
"I was pretty confident I'd done no structural damage until I got the scans back."
The three-time golden boot winner will return next year to play a 14th season with the North Queensland Cowboys.
Gareth Widdop once again starred as St George Illawarra came from 18 points down to beat Newcastle 32-28 at home on Sunday.
Despite being booed off by their supporters at half-time, the Dragons returned after the break to score four unanswered tries and snap a two-game losing streak.
The Englishman finished with four try assists, three line breaks and two line break assists. Dragons winger Jason Nightingale, who scored his third hat-trick of the year, spoke highly of Widdop after the game.
"Gareth being back has really helped open things up; very excited to be on the end of Tim Lafai and Gaz and their try-assisting ability."
Growing the Game
In a bid to help expand rugby league in South Australia, the Roosters took their home fixture against Melbourne to the redeveloped Adelaide Oval.
It paid off in more ways than one as the Sydney-based side secured a thrilling golden-point victory, a win that moves them just two points behind leaders Melbourne.
In front of the biggest NRL crowd in Adelaide in 20 years - 21,492 - the Rosters came from 12 points behind with eight minutes remaining to seal the 25-24 victory.
Roosters coach Trent Robinson has hailed the experiment in Adelaide a success, after it was estimated that 18,000 supporters were locals.
"I think Adelaide and South Australia got what they wanted out of it as well," he said. "They got a good spectacle and also a lot of value out of people visiting the city and regions around."
Despite the defeat Melbourne prop Jesse Bromwich has called for more games to be played in Adelaide.
"There were heaps of numbers out there today," said Bromwich. "You could hear them at times cheering; I'm not sure if they knew the rules or not but it's a great place to play."
Roosters chief executive Joe Kelly is hoping to develop a long-term deal to continue taking games to South Australia.
It's official. Daniel Mortimer has signed a two-and-a-half year contract with Leigh Centurions and joins the club with immediate effect.
Mortimer could be available to make his debut when Leigh travel to Perpignan to play Catalans Dragons on Saturday, live on Sky Sports 1 HD from 4.55pm.
"Daniel is another proven quality NRL player with lots of experience at the highest level, including Grand Finals," said Leigh owner Derek Beaumont.
"Again it is all money but it is not only about ensuring we maintain our Super League status, it is also about improving the squad for next year as I want this club to become more and more competitive so that over time we can win something."
While Mortimer leaves Cronulla, the Sharks have secured the services of Andrew Fifita for another four years.
Despite having a year-and-a-half left on his contract, the prop agreed a new deal with the reigning premiers.
"It's a really exciting time for myself and my family, to secure my future for another five years," Fifita said.
Sharks coach Shane Flanagan was full of praise for his player.
"He is a match-winner, as we saw in the Grand Final and then again in the first Origin game and to have him here at the club for a further five years is very exciting."