Johnathan Thurston Farewelled At Home By Cowboys
Thurston enjoyed a flawless NRL farewell to Townsville as his Cowboys thrashed Parramatta 44-siz.
Thurston had two early try assists for Ben Hampton and kicked eight goals from as many attempts, enjoying a 100th home win in the process.
Kyle Feldt grabbed a hat-trick and Gideon Gela-Moseby and Gavin Cooper also scored in the emphatic win.
Michael Jennings scored the lone Eels try.
Thurston's second successful goal made him the third player to score 2200 points in the NRL after Hazem El Masri and close friend Cameron Smith.
Twice in the first ten minutes, Thurston set up Hampton to score, the second seeing the latter bustle through two hapless Eels defenders.
The next half-hour proved a showcase for Feldt and the man who will take some of the responsibility for filling the Thurston chasm, Jake Clifford, as they combined for three tries.
First, Clifford kicked cross-field for Feldt to climb up highest and touch down, then the winger defied gravity to fly for the line in the right corner to extend the lead further after 22 minutes.
Feldt's hat-trick came four minutes after the break when Clifford kicked behind Corey Norman and Jennings and as the Eels pair looked to guide the ball out of bounds, the Cowboy ran around them to touch down.
Prior to this Gela-Moseby got on the board, which along with Thurston's conversion, gave the Cowboys a club record-equalling 32-point halftime lead.
On a night for records, Cooper dragged three tacklers over the line to score in his eighth consecutive game.
It equalled Immortal Frank Burge's 1918 feat for tries scored in consecutive games by a forward.
The Eels scored the last try of the game when Jarryd Hayne passed inside for Jennings to score.
The big win effectively ensures Parramatta will claim the wooden the spoon.
Thurston spoke to the crowd after the match before embarking on a final lap of his home ground following 14 seasons at the club.
He was chaired off by Matt Scott and Cooper.
"I came here as a kid, a 22-year-old, and there's been some incredible memories here," Thurston said.
"I can't thank you enough for the support on and off the field. You've helped shape me into the man I am today.
"It's been an incredible journey. I've loved representing the North Queensland region, the Cowboys. I've loved representing my state and I've certainly loved representing my country in the green and gold."
Thurston singled out teammate Scott whose 250 game milestone was overshadowed on the night.
"To Matty Scott ... only the third Cowboy to play 250 games, the first forward to play 250 games for the Cowboys, it's been an absolute pleasure to play beside you.