Taumalolo hails Parker as NRL career ends

He was left “devastated” after ending Brisbane captain Corey Parker’s NRL career.

However, North Queensland wrecking ball Jason Taumalolo has not shied away from adding retiring Mick Ennis and Cronulla enforcer Paul Gallen to his 2016 hit list.

The damaging lock capped one of the great comebacks when he ran a staggering 272m to inspire the Cowboys’ 26-20 extra-time semi-final win over Brisbane on Friday night.

Days earlier Taumalolo had been a shell of his former self apologising for his role in an alleged egg throwing scandal at the NRL club.

He will be one of five Cowboys who will appear in Townsville court next month charged with two counts of wilful damage.

But Taumalolo hoped he had finally made amends for last week’s indiscretion with his whole hearted display against the Broncos.

“I hope I did,” he said.

“There were a few times when we needed momentum and I put my hand up to get us out of trouble.

“I got a couple of quick play the balls.”

One of them helped Cowboys co-captain Johnathan Thurston launch his decisive play.

Off the back of yet another Taumalolo run, Thurston broke the line and provided a sublime inside ball for Michael Morgan to score the match-winning try in the 85th minute to bring the Townsville faithful to their feet.

It ensured Parker ended his NRL career on 347 games, becoming the fourth most-capped player of all time.

Taumalolo helped form a guard of honour for Parker as the Brisbane veteran trudged off.

“It was one of the top five games I ever played in,” Taumalolo said.

“It’s unfortunate the way it ended for Corey.

“He has had an amazing career. I have definitely looked up to him.

“To see one of the greats of the game and to go out like that is a bit devastating.”

The Cowboys booked a preliminary final against Cronulla when Taumalolo can help draw the curtain on Ennis and Gallen’s career.

“They are a couple of big boys and we won’t expect anything different from them,” Taumalolo said.

The Kiwi star believed the Cowboys had ample time to recover against a Sharks outfit fresh from a week off.

Not that Taumalolo could explain how he kept finding fresh reserves against Brisbane on Friday night.

“I have no idea to be honest,” he said.

“I am too fatigued now so can’t think too much – that’s why I play in the forwards I guess.

“But wanting it more is probably the main thing.

“When the game is on the line you want to take things in your own hands and change the game.

“That is what I did I guess.

“It’s something deep down when the game was in the balance – I needed to step up.

“I pushed myself as hard as I could. Hopefully I have repaid the boys.”

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