Johnathan Thurston and Cameron Smith after the Maroons' State of Origin game three win.
Johnathan Thurston and Cameron Smith after the Maroons' State of Origin game three win. DAVE HUNT

Testimonial will 'open a can of worms', says Sharks coach

CRONULLA coach Shane Flanagan has questioned the planned testimonial match for Cameron Smith and Johnathan Thurston.

The match will be staged at Suncorp Stadium during next year's pre-season, with the Queensland pair set to pocket as much as $750,000 each from gate takings, ticket sales and sponsorship arrangements, above their regular playing contracts.

While Flanagan said both Smith and Thurston deserved such an honour, he wondered if other players would push for the chance to earn money outside the salary cap.

"One thing I do know is it's going to open a can of worms, because we've got a captain (Paul Gallen) who will probably be reading the newspaper this morning and it will be interesting to see how that works," Flanagan said.

NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg said both players were deserving of the recognition.

"We do not approve these matches lightly but there is no doubt these are two of the best players to play the game," he said.

"Not only have they reached the highest level in representing their state and country but they have done it in style."

News Corp Australia

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