Speed and fleet will set Cowboys apart: Taumalolo
NORTH Queensland superstar Jason Taumalolo admits monster forward packs are nothing new, but he believes it's the speed and athleticism of the Cowboys pack which will set his side apart in 2019.
Taumalolo is set to be joined in the forwards by Broncos recruit Josh McGuire, Matt Scott, Jordan McLean, hooker Jake Granville and Coen Hess in this weekend's Mackay trial.
Taumalolo said the Storm would provide a good test for the forwards just a fortnight out from their NRL season opener against the Dragons.
"A lot of forward packs seem to be getting bigger and bigger and we're no different," Taumalolo said.
"We're a big forward pack, but we also have a few boys who are nimble on their feet.
"So that adds to how good of a forward pack we are … teams will be trying to battle us through the middle and I hope the boys hold their own."
Throwing in star recruit Jordan Kahu on debut, along with powerhouse wingers in Kyle Feldt and Nene McDonald (also on debut), Taumalolo said he was looking forward to playing with a near full-strength side as they build towards Round 1.
"There's a lot of new faces, and a lot of young players coming through too," Taumalolo said. "I played against Jordan Kahu back in high school and obviously when he was playing for Brisbane, but it's really good to share the field together.
"I'm looking forward to playing alongside them all and I'm just ready to play footy in general."
With his stars on deck, Cowboys coach Paul Green will get an indication of which his captaincy hopefuls will get the nod in 2019.
Already voicing his desire to lead the Cowboys, Taumalolo said it would be hard to fill the void left by Johnathan Thurston, but whoever was selected would do the job.
"Captaincy will be a huge call, but I'm sure whoever gets it would do a great job like JT and Matt Scott," he said. "Whoever gets it, I'm sure they'll get it for the right reasons."
Putting the right foot forward will be made easier for Taumalolo as he returns to Mackay in what should be a rock star welcome.
Remaining a Mackay Cutters' favourite from his time with the club, he expects a boost from the virtual Cowboys home crowd.
"It's been a while since I last put on a Cutters' jersey … but the last time I wore it, we won the premiership (2013), so it's like going back through memory lane," Taumalolo said.
"It'll be great to take on Melbourne down there and it should be good."
Outside of the Tongan superstar - whose playing days are immortalised with a giant picture of his Sugar City playing days emblazoned on the stadium's front window - the Cutters' links are throughout the trial squad, with Michael Morgan, also part of the 2013 premiership side, and Dunn also previously wearing the jersey.
"There's a lot of good memories down there and obviously they're a great organisation," Taumalolo said.
"I'm not too sure how they're going at the moment, but I'm sure they're holding their own."