One of the greatest NRL players of this generation, Johnathon Thurston, was born on the 25th of April 1983 in Brisbane, Queensland. Johnathan is an Gunggari man. The land of the Gunggari people is located in South West Queensland. Thurston’s mother is from this clan and his father is from New Zealand. Johnathan is married to wife Samantha Lynch, and they have four children together. Johnathan Thurston has been considered one of the greatest and most influential players in NRL. His passion for sport, and motivating the next generation is evident through his playing, captaincy and community work. Early Career Before his 12-year NRL rugby league career began, Thurston at 12 years of age started playing with the South Queensland Crushers before moving to Toowoomba, Queensland, to play for the Toowoomba Rugby League’s All Whites Team. After displaying an abundance of talent during his under 18s career, Thurston successfully landed a deal with the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs. NRL Career Thurston's NRL career debuted in 2002 with the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs. During his second year with the club, in 2004, he won his first ever NRL Premiership. Following this win he was released from the club. In 2005, Johnathan began playing for the North Queensland Cowboys. During this year, he also debuted for the Queensland State of Origin team. It was a great year of development for Thurston and his team, as they reach the grand final but unfortunately lost to the West Tigers. Johnathan Thurston continued to break barriers and reach incredible goals for Indigenous Australians, throughout his rugby league career with the North Queensland Cowboys. In 2018, Thurston reached his 300th NRL game in Round 1. He has represented the Indigenous Australian community by playing in the Indigenous All Stars Team seven times (winning 4 of those matches). Thurston’s final year in NRL was 2018 and his last game was against the Gold Coast Titans. Community Work and JT Academy Johnathan Thurston’s work off the field is truly where his humility shines. He founded the Johnathan Thurston Academy which aims to be a leading national provider of outstanding employment opportunities and training programs aimed at health, wellbeing, sport and education across Australia. Special Achievements The 'Dally M Medal Player of the Year' is one of the most prestigious awards within the NRL. The Medal was created in honour of Herbert Henry “Dally” Messenger, a past Australian Rugby League Player. Johnathan Thurston has won this award four times during his NRL career (2005, 2007, 2014 & 2015). Thurston has also won a Wally Lewis Medal and Clive Churchill Medal. Johnathan Thurston was announced as Queensland's Australian of the Year for his incredible work within the community and for his sporting achievements.