North Queensland powerhouse Jason Taumalolo has revealed the NRL premiers’ plan to bully their opponents out of contests with their outstanding pack in 2016.
The Cowboys fought their way to a maiden premiership last year with star halfback Johnathan Thurston leading the way all season – winning a fourth Dally M medal before kicking the grand-final-winning field goal.
But New Zealand back-rower Taumalolo, one of three internationals in the Cowboys’ starting pack, says the team’s big boys are looking to take more pressure on board this year and will bring a power game to dominate teams from the opening whistle this year.
With an all-Australian front row of James Tamou and Matt Scott, representative veteran Ben Hannant on the bench and the ultra-reliable second-row partnership of Gavin Cooper and Ethan Lowe joining Taumalolo in the pack, there will be no shortage of big bodies making metres.
“The power game is a big one for us, especially (those) starting the game. We want to power through teams,” the 113kg Taumalolo said.
It was a tactic they used with brutal effect to win the World Club Challenge, smashing through the middle to wear Leeds down before running riot in the second half – crossing for six tries after the break in the 38-4 thrashing.
Taumalolo hopes it is an approach they can take into their round one clash with Cronulla in a fortnight.
“We went out there (against Leeds) and tried to do that the first 10-15 minutes of the game,” he said.
“It was a physical contest there but eventually in the second half our power game came through and we were just going through Leeds.
“Big ups to the rest of the forwards in the middle that played in there, they did their job and stuck to it.
“Even at times we were under pressure at the line, we held out. We’ll be looking to take that into round one.”
Taumalolo also said the Cowboys couldn’t use their UK jaunt as an excuse as they look to overcome their notorious slow starts.
“We’ve had a lot shorter preparation this year heading into round one but I’m confident all the boys have put in the work they needed to to turn up firing instead of having a slow start to the season,” he said.
“I’m pretty curious to see how we’ll go round one.”