Thurston threatens player boycott of Dally M awards

Australia, Queensland and North Queensland star Johnathan Thurston has confirmed that he would not rule out a boycott of this year’s Dally M awards in light of a number of issues surrounding the NRL at the moment.

The Rugby League Players’ Association (RLPA) confirmed that the threat made by Thurston and a number of other players is deadly serious, saying players had become frustrated with a number of topics which are in dispute, including abolishing the five-day turnaround between games, increasing off-season annual leave from six to eight weeks and contributing more to retirement funds and education welfare costs.

Asked if he would boycott the awards, the star North Queensland halfback told Triple M Radio on Thursday: “Yeah, I was one of the boys who actually raised that (a boycott).

“We’ve done that in the past… I’ve got no qualms or worries about doing that if that’s what the RLPA and the players are united in (doing).”

Thurston had been tipped to collect a record fourth Dally M Medal and players boycotted the 2003 Dally M awards.

“Now is the time that we believe to stand up and abolish the five-day turnaround,” Thurston said.

Manly hooker Matt Ballin said the players were behind Thurston and the RLPA and did not play down the boycott threat.

“JT (Thurston) is not doing it for himself, we are all together in this,” he told Fox Sports TV. “There are a few issues that need addressing… by using these methods it will bring those (issues) to the fore.”