SYDNEY - Champion Queensland playmaker Johnathan Thurston will tonight extend a State of Origin record that fellow Golden Boot winner Anthony Minichiello says may well stand the test of time.
A mainstay of the Maroons' eight-year domination of the Blues, Thurston will line up for his 29th consecutive Origin encounter when Queensland bid to keep the series alive at ANZ Stadium.
Incredibly, the 30-year-old reigning world player of the year has featured in every single match since Queensland began their record reign in 2006.
Putting Thurston's record into perspective, the second-longest streak of Origin games was enjoyed by former Queensland forward Gary Larson, who played 24 straight from 1991-1998.
If Thurston completes another full series this year, he will have terrorised NSW non-stop for a decade in rugby league's toughest arena.
Minichiello, who took eight years to rack up his 11 Origin appearances for NSW between 2003 and 2011, said Thurston's Origin longevity — and general durability — was staggering.
"I'm pretty sure that will be a hard record to break - 29 straight Origins is massive. It's a great feat in itself," Minichiello told AAP yesterday.
"I remember speaking to (trainer and former player) Billy Johnstone about Thursto when he was coming up through the grades at Canterbury.
"He said: 'This kid is just a freak. He can run all day, he's fit, just well put together'.
"And it shows — 29 straight Origins is a massive feat and I can't really remember him having too many issues other than some shoulder problems."
Four times an Origin man of the match, Thurston once again looms as the Blues' biggest threat, particularly with Cooper Cronk sidelined with a broken arm and second-choice halfback Daly Cherry-Evans in serious doubt with a knee injury.