ISBN 10: 1460758617
Imprint: HarperCollins – AU
List Price: 16.99 AUD
I grew up slightly obsessed with rugby league. Born and bred in the heart of Dragons’ territory in the glory days of that team, my girlfriends and I played footy every day in the school playground (I still bear a cracking scar on my knee from an untimely slide across the asphalt!). I begged my father to buy me my own football and was rather disappointed when it appeared – the rubbery kind not a leather one – which he found quite amusing. Clearly I had no clue how much a ‘real’ football cost! My love of the game has somewhat diminished over time but I’m still a diehard Dragons supporter and even after thirty odd years in Queensland still proudly wear my ‘Blues’ jersey at Origin time.
Despite my history with the great game I cannot deny that if a player ever deserved the epithet of legend it would be Jonathan Thurston. This shining star of league has not only proven his skill over and over again but is an exemplar of sportsmanship, teamwork and above that, a thoroughly decent, humble and compassionate human.
Young readers will be inspired by this version of his autobiography which begins with his childhood in Brisbane – too skinny, too sooky, too little – to be considered a likely professional player and traces his rise to the greatest heights the game can offer. From his debut with the Canterbury Bulldogs (nothing to say there) to his brilliance in State of Origin, internationals and of course the Cowboys readers will gobble up every detail of every game.
Since his retirement from the game this giant of league has continued to use his influence positively with the Jonathan Thurston Academy with its commitment to ensuring success for young people in every field be it studies, employment or well-being.
In a culture where so-called sporting heroes often fall far short as role models, JT is a stand-out whose ‘total legend’ status goes without saying.
Highly recommended for readers from around 10 years upwards.