NRL star Thurston to retire in 2018


North Queensland Cowboy and Maroons great Johnathan Thurston has signalled his intention to retire at the end of the 2018 NRL season.

Thurston, 33, is already assured of an incredible legacy when he hangs up the boots but he is giving himself another two years to add to it, having announced he is likely to retire at the end of his current contract with the Cowboys.

"I can't see myself going around in 2019," Thurston told the Courier Mail. "I have indicated to the club I will be stepping down after the World Cup."

And with Thurston keen to ensure his last season with the Cowboys is a good one, he will not play representative rugby for Queensland that season, though he admitted he almost changed his mind after State of Origin I last month.

"If I have the last year in 2018 I want to make sure I am enjoying it," he added.

"After the first game of the series though I have started to have second thoughts about that. It will be the hardest [decision]."

The four-time Dally M medallist has enjoyed a stellar career, which started at the Canterbury Bulldogs in 2002 before he moved to his native Queensland with the Cowboys in 2005.

He has played 252 games for the Cowboys, including 25 in last year's famous premiership-winning campaign, while representing Queensland 34 times ahead of State of Origin II against New South Wales Blues on Wednesday.

He has also played 33 international matches for Australia, forming a part of the team that won the 2013 Rugby League World Cup.