NORTH Queensland's Johnathan Thurston might have a man-of-the-match stuff-up a few years ago to thank for his Clive Churchill grand final medal on Sunday night.
Thurston, who carried an injury into the clash and was quiet in the first 20 minutes, kicked the winning 82nd-minute field goal in the grand final of the century for the Cowboys to clinch a maiden premiership 17-16 over Brisbane.
While nobody would begrudge the Cowboys legend such an honour, there is a growing feeling until the emotion of the victory kicked in, Brisbane five-eighth Anthony Milford was considered by many to have been the best on ground.
Two years previously in the 2013 NRL grand final, the judges gave Manly's Daly Cherry-Evans the Churchill Medal, casting their votes early, before Roosters forward Sonny Bill Williams tore the game apart in the last 20 minutes.
On Sunday night the selectors, members of the national panel, waited for the game to end before voting and Thurston's heroics and the crowd's amazing reaction to it may have influenced them.
Cowboys hooker Jake Granville was also in the running as was Brisbane centre Jack Reed, who scored a try and saved a few others with his wonderful defence.
Meanwhile, Brisbane teammates Ben Hunt and Adam Blair have pleaded guilty to charges emerging from the grand final.
Hunt will most likely miss Brisbane's World Club Challenge game in the UK and be right for the 2016 NRL season opener, while Blair starts the new season next year sitting on 99 carry-over points.
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