Johnathan Thurston is golden yet again
Head-geared hero Johnathan Thurston is far from finished filling his trophy cabinet with the possibility the North Queensland superstar could play on for another three or four years.
After kicking the Cowboys to an historic grand final win over Brisbane last month, JT iced the greatest season of his illustrious career by stepping into unchartered waters by winning third Golden Boot award as the game's best player.
He didn't need the Boot he also won in 2011 and 2013 to tell rugby league fans of his greatness but his latest gong simply underlines his place among the game's very best, including Queensland's best ever, Wally Lewis.
"Wally was a wonderful player, I loved playing against him and with him, and Thurston is right up their now and he is still not finished," Parramatta legend Brett Kenny, who retired at 32, told APN.
"They (Lewis and Thurston) are different types of players, but if you look at what he has achieved, I really don't know what more you have to do to become an immortal.
"Wally was a great player, one of the best you'll ever see. It was an absolute pleasure to have played in his era and he is always going to be one of the greatest."
Kenny, who retired at the age Thurston is now, said the Cowboys halfback was "playing very well" for a 32-year-old, adding the Cowboys' coaching staff had wisely designed a training program to help prolong his playing days.
Thurston dominated rugby league's major awards this year with a fourth Dally M Player of the Year, Rugby League Players' Association Player of the Year, Churchill Medal for player of the grand final, and a State of Origin series win, his ninth in the past 10 years.
His greatest moment, though, was kicking the field goal to win the North Queensland club its maiden NRL premiership.
He may have slowed down a little but, as Kenny points out, he is still super quick where it counts - between the ears - a trait which allowed his predecessor Darren Lockyer to play a record 365 games in 17 seasons at the top until he was 35.
Thurston has the players around who can challenge for another premiership or two before Father Time intervenes and there's no suggestion his brilliance is dulling with age and he may yet break Darren Lockyer's games record of 365 before he retires.