Johnathan Thurston will go down in Australian sporting history as one of the great rugby league players of all time.
On Tuesday night he was awarded the 2015 Rugby League Players Association’s (RLPA) top award -- he is again the players’ player.
This is the third consecutive year Thurston has been afforded this honour -- the fourth overall -- a record.
Thurston started his career with the Bulldogs in 2004; winning the NRL Premiership that year aged just 21. He moved to North Queensland the following year and has never looked back.
The 32 year old has also won the League’s best player award -- the Dally M -- three times, and has been a key part of the all-conquering Queensland Maroons team across one of the most dominant eras in State of Origin history.
On receiving the award, Thurston said he was humbled.
“In my eyes, this is the highest accolade a player can get, to be voted by your peers as the best in your game," he said, as he accepted the award via video link.
This was seen as a veiled reference to the Dally M awards, with Thurston recently threatening to join fellow players in a boycott of the Grand Final week awards night -- all in connection with the ongoing dispute between the players and the NRL over player welfare issues.
The North Queensland club’s administration will also be counting its blessings that in 2010 it did not proceed with plans to dump the half-back due to a perceived indiscretion while serving as captain.
While deeply disappointed with the Cowboys’ four-point loss to the Brisbane Broncos in the first week of the finals, Thurston will be looking to make amends for his poor performance in the Round 22 clash with the Cronulla Sharks when the two teams meet again in this weekend's elimination final.
If the Cowboys get the win this weekend it will be with co-captain Thurston giving his all for his team.
Thurston has previously said he would like to be remembered alongside the likes of Andrew Johns and Darren Lockyer -- legends of the game -- and there is no doubt he is already in that sphere.