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‘Never been in so much pain in my life’

JOHNATHAN Thurston may have got the last laugh against the Broncos last night but he wasn’t chuckling during this incident midway through the second half.In a moment that caused every man watching to wince, Thurston tried to put a front on shot on former Queensland and Australian teammate Sam Thaiday, only for the Broncos forward’s knee to land between the Cowboys superstar’s legs.“I’ve never been in so much pain in my life,” Thurston told Darren Lockyer after the match.“I felt all right and then I felt them up in my stomach and I couldn’t go on anymore.“And then Alfie (Broncos trainer Allan Langer) comes over and says ‘get ‘em out’. He made me laugh and that’s all you can do when you’ve got them up around your throat.”The Cowboys had a stirring 34-30 comeback win in Thurston’s final Queensland Derby despite the close call with the crown jewels.PEARCE LET’S GO OF BLUES BITTERNESSNewcastle Knights halfback Mitchell Pearce has opened up about the pain of being labelled an Origin failure and letting go of the bitterness that came with it ahead of his 250th NRL game.The 29-year-old Pearce said he is no longer haunted by being blamed for NSW’s string of Origin losses and the avalanche of criticism that came with his time in the Blues team.

NSW this year won just their second Origin series in 13 years, with Pearce replaced by Penrith’s Nathan Cleary.He was often made the scapegoat for NSW’s many losses but he is now philosophical over the criticism.“You can’t be bitter in life and hold on to resentment thinking ‘I wish I did this or I wish I did that’,” he told NRL.com.“I’ve let go of trying to battle it.”Pearce revealed how meditation helped him find peace with the criticism, move on from past mistakes and mature to the point of finding his feet at the Knights.“I’ve always been a bit chaotic in the head,” he said.“You play your best footy when you’re in your feel and trusting yourself.“Meditation can open you up to that. With footy and different expectations that come with wins and losses and taking things to heart, it can all add to you playing from your head.”Pearce play his 250th first grade game tonight for the Knights against the New Zealand Warriors in Auckland.— with AAP

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