Watch Todd Payten on Face-to-face with Matty Johns on Tuesday night at 7.30pm on Fox League.
Cowboys coach Todd Payten revealed Johnathan Thurston originally didn’t want him at the club due to the fact he beat him in the 2005 Grand Final, while playing for the Tigers.
Payten’s Tigers beat Thurston’s Cowboys 30-16 in the 2005 decider and the future Immortal took the loss as hard as anyone on the night.
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However, even nearly 10 years later when Payten joined the Cowboys as an assistant, Thurston wasn’t interested in having a player who beat him in a grand final coaching at his club.
“A funny story he (Thurston) didn’t want me at the club,” Payten said on Face-to-face with Matty Johns.
“Obviously we had a history, Tigers vs. Cowboys in the 2005 Grand Final.
“Peter Parr brought it up with Johnno and he said, no way he is not at our club.
“In the end he had to be talked around and I’m grateful that they talked him around.”
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Johns asked if the rivalry between the Tigers and the Cowboys was that strong to last nearly a decade after the 2005 Grand Final.
“Was the rivalry that bitter?” Johns asked.
“No, it wasn’t bitter,” Payten said.
“It just typifies the type of competitor Johnno is. He doesn’t like to lose.
“I’d run across Johnno at different times in different places and he was always a decent fella to talk to, but losing grand finals is hard to get over.”
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However, Thurston welcomed Payten to the club and they made two grand finals and won the 2015 decider together 10 years after that fateful 2005 match.
“It was enjoyable,” Payten said of coaching Thurston and the Cowboys of that era.
“I was a little bit gun shy with Johnno (Thurston) at first. He was one of the best players in the world and my thought process was, how am I going to tell him what to do?
“But after a while he pulled me aside and said, mate tell me the truth, I want to know.
“That’s when I worked out that the elite players want to be coached and they want some information.
“He put me at ease with that.”