Johnathan Thurston of the Cowboys.
Johnathan Thurston of the Cowboys. PAUL MILLER

Titans hope sick Thurston is out

GOLD Coast will be hoping rival North Queensland coach Paul Green adopts a "safer-than-sorry” policy with off-colour star Johnathan Thurston in their high-stakes NRL showdown tomorrow.

With champion prop Matt Scott unavailable battling finger and back injuries, losing Thurston would be a crippling blow and a mental boost for the Titans who need to win to guarantee they finish eighth.

Thurston was sent home from training earlier in the week and placed on a course of antibiotics for a bout of tonsillitis.

He was still crook when the Cowboys had their final training run and failed to complete the session.

While Thurston wants to play like all champions when the pressure is on, Green will delay a decision on his star play-maker until he gets a medical update later tomorrow.

"He didn't do the whole session and he is not 100%,” Green said.

"He did a little bit of it ... so we'll see how he pulls up tomorrow and make a decision then.”

Titans coach Neil Henry, who spent nine seasons at the helm of the Cowboys, said his players would need to be at their defensive best given their opposition had won 10 of their 11 games in Townsville this season.

Few people know Thurston's game better than Henry, and he said the Cowboys had several other players who would need to be contained, especially bullocking forward James Taumalolo.

"Their outside backs are very dangerous but I think we have a game that can worry them if we control possession and build pressure,” Henry said.

"They've got a quality side, but they're beatable.”

Henry will be hoping fullback Jarryd Hayne has found some match fitness and can work some magic with halves Ash Taylor and Tyrone Roberts, and that Greg Bird maintains the rage in the middle.

These two clubs have each won eight of their 16 clashes.

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