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The very awkward night that started Johnathan Thurston's relationship with his now-wife, Sam.

When retired Cowboys player Jonathan Thurston met his now-wife, Samantha Lynch, in a bar in 2005, the encounter resulted in a split brow and a bruised eye.

At the time she was in a relationship with another man, and he didn’t appreciate the NRL player trying to pick up his girlfriend.

In an extract from his new autobiography, Johnathan Thurston: The Autobiography, published by News Corp, the 35-year-old said he was smitten from the start, but it wasn’t until Lynch joined the Cowboys as a sponsorship manager that the two began getting closer.

Thurston began doing more corporate and sponsorship work for the Cowboys, and in particular for Toyota – one of Lynch’s accounts.

“As part of that deal I had to visit Toyota dealers around North Queensland, and more often than not Sam would accompany me on those trips. We spent a lot of time together and became good friends,” he wrote.

 

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Me & my lady Dally M ready for the final time

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Despite this, its wasn’t until a “hook up” on a Cowboys sponsorship trip that they started finally dating, albeit, strictly in secret.

“We were having a few drinks the night before and it just ended up happening.

“Sam had planned to go back to her room in the early hours of the morning but we had slept through the alarm. We ended up being late to the shopping centre visit but our secret was safe.

“There was no awkwardness following the encounter, and our friendship became stronger.”

They continued their relationship in hotel rooms, not wanting to run the risk of getting caught near Thurston’s busy Townsville unit.

“I spent a bloody fortune over the next few months. We booked rooms all over Townsville — and eventually Magnetic Island too — as we met in secret,” Thurston wrote.

Explaining his reasons for the secrecy, the former Cowboys co-captain said Townsville was a “bloody small place” and they wanted avoid being spotted by someone they knew. And then one day, they decided to confess their relationship to Peter Parr – the club’s football director.

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“We both walked into Peter Parr’s office after deciding to confess our love. We were shaking and sweating,” he said.

 

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Alas, Parr already knew, and apparently so did the majority of Townsville.

“Parrie just shook his head,” described Thurston, recalling the event.

“’I know what you two have been up to. Hell, everyone in Townsville knows. You’re probably both on Magnetic Island postcards by now.’”

In the end, Parr said he had “no problems” with Thurston and Lynch dating as long as they maintained their professionalism while working.

Ten years on from that awkward conversation in 2008, the couple eloped in 2015 and now share three children together, with a fourth due in February 2019.

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