Johnathan Thurston's passion for the Maroons remains as strong as ever. Picgture: Dave Hunt/AAP
Johnathan Thurston's passion for the Maroons remains as strong as ever. Picgture: Dave Hunt/AAP

Thurston picks Maroons’ next halfback

QUEENSLAND legend Johnathan Thurston hopes Maroons selectors stick with under-fire halfback Ben Hunt for the third State of Origin game.

It comes less than a week after Thurston said Hunt had a "brain explosion" during Queensland's game two loss to NSW.

But speaking in Townsville before North Queensland's NRL match on Sunday, Thurston said he believed the Maroons would persist with the same squad for the dead rubber.

St George Illawarra playmaker Hunt is under pressure from Gold Coast's Ash Taylor to retain his spot when the team is announced on Sunday night.

While Thurston believed Taylor deserved to be in contention, he wants selectors keep the faith with Hunt.

"I haven't watched too much of Ash this year," Thurston said.

"It's nice when you're a young half and your name is getting mentioned.

"I think the selectors will stick with the team that they've chosen for the first two games and hopefully Benny Hunt is there as well."

Thurston didn't just have Hunt in the firing line during the Maroons' series-deciding 18-14 loss.

The 35-year-old said he was a "little bit dumbfounded" by how Queensland played when Blues centre James Roberts was sin-binned.

"I was a little bit critical of all the halves, not just him (Hunt)," Thurston said.

"But that's because I'm passionate about the jersey and I want to see them do extremely really well.

"They had a really good chance to ice the game and they're very experienced those boys that are playing in the Maroons team."

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