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Thurston keeps NRL options open
Laine Clark
16:28 AEST Fri Feb 1 2013

They say mother knows best. However, North Queensland playmaker Johnathan Thurston looks set to have the final say in a household welcoming their first child in June.

Thurston said on Friday his fiancee Samantha Lynch wanted him to play the State of Origin opener on June 5 despite that being their baby's expected birth date.

And it is believed Lynch - the Cowboys' sponsorship manager - would prefer to stay in Townsville to raise the family.

But the off-contract Thurston appears to have other ideas.

With up to 10 NRL clubs in pursuit of the Test pivot, Thurston unwittingly added to speculation about his future when he claimed he would weigh up all offers once the ARL Commission finalised a new salary cap.

And players' association spokesman Thurston believed that would be sooner rather than later.

"From a players' association point of view, I think we are close to coming to an agreement," he said on Friday after arriving for the Indigenous players camp on Queensland's Sunshine Coast ahead of next weekend's All Stars clash.

"I will just have to wait until the salary cap is set. Once that is done, we can start talking to them and know where I stand with the clubs."

Penrith are believed to be heading the race for Thurston's signature after Cowboys recruitment boss Peter Parr conceded his club would not "break the bank" to retain their leader.

But Thurston said the constant rumours about his future were no distraction ahead of the 2013 NRL season kick-off.

"I have certainly been here before so I know how to block it out," he said.

The birth of his first child is another story.

He went through mixed emotions when realising the due date landed "smack bang" on Origin I - but gave his strongest hint yet that he would defy his wife and stay in Townsville to witness the birth.

"She (Lynch) is a proud Queenslander. She doesn't want me to miss the game," Thurston said.

"But I am not too sure whether I want to miss the birth of my first child.

"It wasn't until we got back to the club (Cowboys) and looked at the schedule that I realised it (due date) was smack bang in the middle of Origin - we couldn't actually believe it.

"We still have a few scans to go so hopefully the due date changes."