In 2004, Johnathan Thurston's teammates were accused of rape. He's finally told his story.

Johnathan Thurston remained quiet for 14 years.

The former Bulldog was sworn to secrecy when his teammates were accused of gang rape.

Now he’s broken his silence about the 2004 Coffs Harbour rape scandal that nearly derailed his career, before it had even begun.

According to Thurston’s memoir, Johnathan Thurston: The Autobiography, an unnamed woman allegedly “slept with six” Bulldogs players at the team’s hotel on the Wednesday night.

JT speaks to 60 Minutes…

Thurston was not involved in the incident.

On the Saturday night, according to Thurston, the 20-year-old woman wanted to meet up with the players again but they weren’t interested.

She tried to enter their cab as they were leaving the Plantation Hotel to go back to the Novotel Hotel where they were staying.

“One of the boys pushed her out and gave her a gob-full. She wasn’t impressed,” he wrote.

That morning, the woman allegedly had consensual sex with one of the players near the hotel’s pool.

By midday, the team would hear the woman had accused “three to six” players of gang rape.

“I was stunned,” Thurston wrote.

“I was not involved in any capacity with the woman who made the accusations.

“I was not involved with her on the Wednesday night and I did not see what happened in the pool area on the Sunday morning.”


The Director of Public Prosecutions ruled there was insufficient evidence to launch a prosecution. No charges were ever laid and all players cleared of any wrongdoing.

Now, Thurston has spoken about the scandal for the first time in an interview with 60 Minutes.

“I wasn’t a part of that. We had broken team rules and it was very seriously allegations,” the former Bulldog told 60 Minutes. 

“Everyone was tarnished with these allegations… it was a traumatic time for everyone. Obviously the victim at the time and certainly the club at the time as well. 

“I wish we could have come out and cleared our names straight away because everything was consensual at the time.”

Thurston is now married to Samantha Lynch, and the pair have three girls, 18-month-old Lillie, three-year-old Charlie and five-year-old Frankie.

“Speaking about [the scandal] is quite difficult knowing that my daughters will probably see this when they’re older – and having to sit down and explain to them what is my side of this story is going to be tough,” he explained. 

In his memoir, Thurston says he wasn’t shocked by the group sex at the time, but now he sees things differently.

“I wish I could tell you that I was shocked by the group sex — but I wasn’t,” the 35-year-old wrote.

“Consensual group sex, a girl sleeping with more than one NRL player at the same time, was not unusual.

“It felt like the public thought we were all guilty even though a charge had not been laid.”

Thurston and Lynch are expecting their fourth child in February.