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Hayne playing his best footy: Thurston

AAP logoAAP 25/08/2016 James MacSmith

Having shared the 2014 Dally M Medal with Jarryd Hayne, Johnathan Thurston is fully aware of the threat his former Kangaroos teammate poses to North Queensland's top-four aspirations.

Thurston's Cowboys and Hayne's Gold Coast side clash in Townsville next Friday in a game that's crucial to both sides.

The hosts can secure a top-four berth with a win, while the Titans can seal a top-eight finish.

Hayne returns to Townsville for the first time since his comeback to the NRL and Thurston believes he'll do so in good form.

"It should be a good game," Thurston said.

"He is back playing fullback and he seems to be getting better with each game. (Titans coach) Neil (Henry) has got him playing his best footy and we will have to be on top of our game."

Thurston is back on top of his game after struggling with a hamstring problem earlier this month, and led the Cowboys to victory over Canterbury at Belmore Sports Ground on Thursday.

It was the first time Thurston had been back at the ground, since he left the Bulldogs in 2005.

"It was enjoyable to be back, I was a little bit nervous," he said.

"The Dogs gave me a chance when no one else did and I will always be grateful for that.

"They (the fans) showed me plenty of love out there."

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