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Last night, after the Parramatta Eels clashed with the North Queensland Cowboys at 1300SMILES Stadium, Eels captains Tim Mannah and Clint Gutherson presented Johnathan Thurston with a gift on behalf of the Blue & Gold.

Thurston, who was playing his final NRL game, starred in the Cowboys 44-6 victory in front of a sold out Townsville crowd. 

The gift, a custom headgear, designed by 2015 National Naidoc Artist of the year Daren Dunn, celebrates Thurston’s journey, life and career as an Indigenous Sportsman. 

The images depict various parts of Australia where families, clubs and communities of the NRL have followed him and supported him on this journey. 

It represents the dust rising as Indigenous people of different tribal nations "shake a leg" to celebrate JT and his achievements. 

Also embedded is his family, wife and daughters - to acknowledge them for the important role they have played in his life.

The Emu represents JT’s totem – the Emu has great significance in many Aboriginal Dreaming stories.

“Just on behalf of the other side, the non-Cowboys community, it’s been an absolute honour to have played against you all these years,” Mannah said during the on-field presentation.

“(From) the stadium full of people here and the millions of people at home who have been entertained and have a lifetime of memories – thanks for the memories.

“All the best in your (last) game next week and thanks for your career.”

See more photos in detail below.

Acknowledgement of Country

Parramatta Eels respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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