“I’m sorry, I’ve never spoken to anyone about it” Emotional Thurston reveals devastating phone call

Rugby League legend Johnathan Thurston has broken down in tears whilst recalling the heart-wrenching moment he received the toughest phone call of his life.

In an emotional interview with 60 Minutes overnight, the NRL star revealed he was away in camp with the Kangaroos for the 2008 Rugby League World Cup when his wife Samantha called.

She phoned to inform the footy great of the tragic news that his uncle Richard Saunders had been murdered in a Woodridge park.


“Getting the phone call from Samantha, that my uncle had been murdered in a park. So yeah, that was extremely tough, tough phone call to receive,” Thurston said before breaking down in tears and apologising.

“I’m sorry … I’ve never spoken to anyone about it,” he said.

“This is the first time I’ve spoken about it so it’s just bringing all those memories back.”

Just days after receiving the devastating phone call, Thurston ran out onto the field and won man-of-the-match.

“I know he woulda been up there smiling down, proud as punch,” Thurston said of his uncle.


Eight men have been since been jailed over Saunders bashing death.

Shanee is a full-time Digital Journalist and Social Media Content Producer. In 2014, Shanee graduated from Griffith University’s Gold Coast Campus with a Bachelor of Communications majoring in Journalism, Public Relations and Marketing. Since joining 1029 Hot Tomato, Shanee has been keeping you up to date with breaking news and everything Gold Coast on myGC. Shanee also writes and photographs for Peony & Page, a personal home, style and travel blog & Instagram alias she founded in 2015.

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