• 'I am already aiming to be back for next year’s game': Johnathan Thurston on his exit from this year's Indigenous All Stars match. (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
World Club challenge takes JT's focus away from next month's NRL Indigenous All Stars game.
19 Jan 2016 - 3:37 PM  UPDATED 19 Jan 2016 - 4:23 PM

Johnathan Thurston who has been one of the biggest supporters of the All Stars concept, is required by the Cowboys to play in the World Club Series in the United Kingdom a week after the All Stars match.

He advised the NRL that he wants to ensure he is fit and fresh for the World Club Challenge – one of the few goals he is yet to achieve in Rugby League.

Thurston said he regretted missing the All Stars match but would be cheering the reigning champion Indigenous All Stars team from the sidelines.

“I will always have great affection for the All Stars match and I am already aiming to be back for next year’s game,” he said.

“But this is a unique opportunity to win the World Club Challenge and I want to do all I can to help the Cowboys achieve that goal.”

Thurston's exit paves the way for Greg Inglis to captain the side this year, saying that he was was humbled to be asked.

“It’s an incredible honour to captain the Indigenous All Stars,” Inglis said. “It is always a special time for me – not only is the game itself something to remember but the week is always a highlight.

“Whilst it’s unfortunate that 'JT' won’t be out there with us, I fully understand his decision to add the World Club Challenge to his resume.”

NRL General Manager of Community, Culture and Diversity, Mark Deweerd said Thurston has played a key role in the success of the All Stars matches and everyone in the Rugby League community accepts his decision.

“While we will miss him in Brisbane this year, we totally understand that he wants to help the Cowboys become the world champion club side,” he said.

The Indigenous All Stars will take on a World All Stars team at Suncorp Stadium on February 13, 2015.