Thurston ruled out of Origin opener


Queensland star Johnathan Thurston has been ruled out of the State of Origin opener against New South Wales due to his shoulder injury.

Thurston had been named 18th man for the clash in Brisbane on Wednesday, but was always battling to prove his fitness from an injury suffered while playing for Australia earlier this month.

His absence will see his record run of 36 consecutive Origin appearances come to an end, with Gold Coast Titans forward Jarrod Wallace taking his spot in the squad.

"I'm devastated I won't be playing next week, but the call needed to be made and it's the right decision for the team," Thurston said in a statement on Thursday.

Thurston will stay with the Maroons squad to mentor likely Origin debutant Anthony Milford and support coach Kevin Walters.

Maroons doctor Matt Hislop said Thurston had been unable to make the progress he wanted.

"We always had a plan that Johnathan had to pass through a number of stages, and if he ever didn't progress through one of those, we would sit down and make a call," he said.

"We did some further objective tests late yesterday which showed he had not progressed to the stage where we could move on to the next step of skill work and contact."

Walters said Thurston deserved to be given every chance to prove his fitness for the Maroons.

"It shows a lot about Johnathan's character, and what this team means to him, that he's prepared to move on quickly and get behind Anthony, myself and the rest of the team during such a tough period," he said.

"We knew Johnathan was going to be up against it, but because he has been such a great player for us over many years, we strongly believed he deserved to have that chance to prove his fitness."

Thurston's absence is a boost to the Blues, who have lost 10 of the past 11 series.