Johnathan Thurston Shuts Down Comeback Talk

Queensland great Johnathan Thurston says he's 'no chance' of a State of Origin return after the shock retirement of Cameron Smith.

What you need to know
  • Johnathan Thurston says he won't be recalled to play in this year's Origin
  • Thurston says it's a new era for the Maroons with Smith also retiring
  • The Cowboys champion pays tribute to his good mate Smith's 'incredible' career

Queensland great Johnathan Thurston has laughed off suggestions he'll make a comeback and play for the Maroons following Cameron Smith's shock retirement.

The Cowboys champion says he's "no chance" of making the side, and that Queensland would be "really scraping the barrell' if they came back to him.

Coach Kevin Walters is facing a real challenge ahead Origin I -- it'll be the first time Queensland is without its Big Three of Smith, Thurston and Cooper Cronk.

But Thurston is optimistic about what he's described as a "new era" for Queensland.

"It's an exciting time for the Maroons team --  whoever gets picked needs to put their stamp on the side and on the jersey that they're wearing," Thurston said.

He's named Ben Hunt (Dragons), Cameron Munster (Storm), Michael Morgan (Cowboys), Daly Cherry-Evans (Sea Eagles) and Anthony Milford (Brisbane) as good options to bolster the team.

Thurston has also paid tribute to Smith and revealed he was as shocked as everyone else by his good mate's decision to retire.

"It's been an incredible career that's for sure . . . (Smith) holds just about every record in the Green and Gold and at the Maroons. It was a pleasure to play alongside him, we've got some great memories together," Thurston said.

And Smith couldn't be talked out of it.

"He'd well and truly made up his mind by the time he spoke to me."

Thurston said Smith instead settled in on the phone for a good chat.

"Got a bottle of nice red out of my cupboard, cracked that and had a couple of drinks while we were on the phone," he said.