Johnathan Thurston says he wants to make his retirement from the representative arena as painless as possible for the Maroons, and to a lesser extent, the Kangaroos.
The halves supremo has been the linchpin of the Queensland set-up for 12 years and heavily contributed to the banana benders claiming 11 of the past 12 Origin Series.
Maroons halves partner Cooper Cronk, who also turns 34 this year, is expected to play for the northerner's in 2018.
Possible replacements for Thurston include Anthony Milford, Ben Hunt, Moses Mbye and Daly-Cherry Evans.
“It’ll be a little bit emotional,” Thurston told Fox Sports of his impending final Origin series.
“I’ve been involved in that team for a long time. I’m comfortable with where I’m at with the decision.
“That gives the coaching staff and the Maroons some time with Smithy, Cooper and the likes still there, we’re not all retiring at the same time and leave a massive hole. We can filter out and make it as least painful as possible.”
Thurston will retire from Kangaroos duty following this year’s World Cup.
“I’ve spoken to the club to let them know that I’m keen to go again but I’ve also spoken to Mal, letting him know that this will be my last year of rep footy,” Thurston said.
“My goal is to warrant selection in the World Cup and make sure I make that squad.”
Thurston will play on for the Cowboys in 2018 and is expected to sign a one-year extension for next season once the revised salary cap is announced.
“It’s pretty hard to do anything when the salary cap hasn’t been sorted out,” Thurston said.
“I think all players and clubs are in the same boat.”