Even if Michael Ennis’ NRL career ends without a 2016 premiership ring, North Queensland’s Jason Taumalolo reckons the Cronulla rake is already guaranteed one title – the league’s most irritating player.
But Taumalolo did not warm to the prospect of finally silencing Ennis by bringing an abrupt halt to his playing days this week.
Retiring Sharks No.9 Ennis is expected to be at his niggling best in Friday night’s preliminary final against North Queensland at Allianz Stadium.
Few would argue after Ennis copped plenty of criticism for taunting Raiders fans with his own “Viking clap” following the Sharks’ opening finals win in Canberra.
For the record, Taumalolo reckoned he could see the funny side of Ennis’ dig at Canberra fans.
“It was pretty funny seeing him after the Raiders game, I couldn’t stop laughing at that moment,” he said.
“But that is him to a tee.
“He will be just as much of a pest on Friday night – it should be quite the battle in the middle.”
Taumalolo could not argue though when asked if Ennis was on the “all time” most annoying players list.
“I think he would be up there but I don’t think you have to ask me about that,” he smiled.
“I speak for most of the NRL that Mick is definitely up there as one of the most annoying players in the comp.”
Taumalolo now has the chance to have the final say against Ennis.
Taumalolo’s extraordinary 263-metre effort inspired North Queensland’s extra-time semi-final win over Brisbane last week.
It also helped end Broncos captain Corey Parker’s NRL career.
One week later he can do the same for Ennis – not that he looked forward to it.
“He is one of the best players in that position in the modern day era,” Taumalolo said of Ennis.
“If he retires on Friday night it would be a pretty tragic way to end a career.
“He handles himself well for a small body, he definitely puts his body on the line (in defence).
“On Friday night we will definitely leave it all out on the field.”
Taumalolo said he knew he would have to back up from his semi-finals heroics against the Cronulla pack.
“They are a physical pack spearheaded by Paul Gallen,” he said.
“But in saying that they have Andrew Fifita who is just as damaging and they get a lot of second phase play from Wade Graham and Matt Prior.
“They have a forward pack that has a bit of everything.”