North Queensland powerhouse Jason Taumalolo insists the level of competition between the NRL and Super League remains close despite a consecutive World Club Series whitewash.
The Cowboys put the cherry on top of an NRL cake on Sunday with a second-half demolition of Leeds, scoring 34 unanswered points in the 38-4 thrashing to win the World Club Challenge at Headingley Stadium.
It followed similar thumpings by Brisbane and Sydney Roosters in the opening two fixtures, to seemingly highlight the growing gulf in class between the two competitions.
But Taumalolo, who caused serious damage in the middle of the park against Leeds, said his respect for the northern hemisphere competition had not diminished in the slightest after a bruising encounter.
“It’s good for us boys back in the NRL, but in saying that the Super League teams are just as good as the NRL teams,” Taumalolo said.
“Even though the competition was one-sided I still think Super League is a great competition.”
Taumalolo said the forwards battle, and the 4-4 halftime scoreline, was a better indicator of the closeness of the game than the deluge of tries after the break.
“The Leeds boys were physical and they took it to us, stuck it to us in the first 15 minutes of the game,” he said.
“We had to weather the storm but eventually we got there.”
Rival coaches Paul Green and Brian McDermott gave their support to the World Club Series, saying it was worth persisting with.
“It’s a whitewash … is there a point in doing it again next year? For sure, definitely,” said McDermott, who admitted it was a fair result.
“That’s how you learn, through errors, by getting your backside kicked.
“Should we be involved in this competition next year we’ll give it an even better go and maybe we’ll get our backside kicked again and kicked again but we’ll get closer and closer.
“What you don’t do is get your backside kicked and not play another game for five years and then see what you’re like after five years.
“I think there’s some real good merit in this.”