Johnathan Thurston and the Cowboys will tour north Queensland this weekend.
Johnathan Thurston and the Cowboys will tour north Queensland this weekend. Getty Images

Cowboys say thanks to fans

COWBOYS grand final hero Johnathan Thurston will lead a whirlwind 'thank you tour' of three north Queensland cities on Sunday, with receptions planned for fans in Mackay, Mt Isa and Cairns.

Thurston, who won the Clive Churchill Medal for the best player in his team's thrilling 17-16 grand final victory over Brisbane earlier this month, will be joined on the three-city celebration by co-captain Matt Scott and 10 other teammates.

They will begin their 12-hour day flying from Townsville to Mackay for a tickertape parade along Victoria Street, before flying to the mining town of Mt Isa for a civic reception at a packed Buchanan Park.

The final destination on the whistle-stop tour will be Cairns where the group will attend another civic reception at Barlow Park before flying back to Townsville.

Meanwhile disgraced Canberra Raiders player Sandor Earl has probably played his last game of top level rugby league after the NRL confirmed he had been suspended until August 2017 under its anti-doping policy.

Anti-Doping Tribunal chairman, former High Court judge, Ian Callinan, QC, said Earl had breached a number of drug policies, including using and possessing the banned drug CJC-1295, and of trafficking both Somatropin and Clenbuterol

"The NRL is committed to eliminating performance enhancing drugs," NRL Integrity boss Nick Weeks said.

"We want our game to provide a fair and safe environment for players and that means taking all reasonable steps to eradicate performance enhancing drugs from rugby league."

Earl has 21 days to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.