Pearce: ‘Johnathan Thurston is probably the greatest’

One more battle for the books.

Old rivals Mitchell Pearce and Johnathan Thurston face off for the final time.

This Friday, the nib Newcastle Knights travel to Townsville to take on North Queensland.

It's the last time these fierce foes will duel with Thurston retiring at seasons end.

While it's been a difficult season for the Cowboys, Pearce has been in fine touch when on the field.

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He was running riot to start the season before a pectoral tear halted his moment.

Two games back from injury and the No.7 has picked up from where he left off.

Now he has a chance to get back one on the man known as JT.

Thurston's record speaks for itself.

Set aside the two premierships, four Dally M medals, three golden boots, 37 Origins and 39 Tests for Australia, he also has the edge on Pearce.

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Pearce and Thurston have gone head to head 25 times at NRL, Origin and All Stars level.

The Cowboys skipper holds a 17-8 record.

Many believe Thurston is an immortal in waiting.

Pearce says he may just be the best of all-time.

"It'll be a great honour," Pearce said.

"It's always great coming up against great players, and Johnathan Thurston is probably the greatest.

"I always enjoy coming up against the best.

"I'll have to shake his hand at the end of the game and congratulate him on what a great career he's had."