Jordan McLean lines up in the middle at training. Picture: Cowboys Media
Jordan McLean lines up in the middle at training. Picture: Cowboys Media

Cowboys adopt pack mentality

PROP Jordan McLean insists the Cowboys won't rely on just one player to fill the massive void left by Jason Taumalolo's injury setback, declaring that every forward is ready to step up.

The Cowboys will be without their superstar lock for up to 10 weeks after Taumalolo suffered a grade three medial strain when his right knee was twisted awkwardly in a tackle against the Broncos last weekend.

Taumalolo has become the heart and soul of North Queensland's pack, missing just six games through injury since 2014 while averaging more than 160 metres per game in that time.

Queensland and Australia lock Josh McGuire will be an experienced replacement in the No. 13 jersey, but McLean said it would take a team effort to match Taumalolo's devastating impact.

"Everyone knows what Jase brings and his running game's his strength so I think it's a workload that we need to spread across the pack," McLean said.

"I definitely think we can fill the void. He's obviously a very big loss and we want him out there playing, but at the same time we've got a real good pack and some young boys are coming back into the team.

"We just need to start with energy and just be in the contest."

Round 1 game of the NRL Telstra Premiership between the North Queensland Cowboys v St George Illawarra Dragons from 1300 Smiles Stadium, Townsville. Cowboys Josh McGuire. Picture: Zak Simmonds
Round 1 game of the NRL Telstra Premiership between the North Queensland Cowboys v St George Illawarra Dragons from 1300 Smiles Stadium, Townsville. Cowboys Josh McGuire. Picture: Zak Simmonds

Cowboys coach Paul Green took aim at his forwards in the wake of last weekend's 29-10 defeat to the Broncos, saying they had failed to match Brisbane's early physicality.

McLean admitted that criticism had stung as they prepare to host the Sharks on Saturday afternoon.

"I think we were up for it, but the Broncos just came out really hard and we just didn't stick with them," he said.

"It took us a while to find our rhythm in the game and I think in the second half we were a lot better, but it was just too late.

"We as forwards probably didn't play our best game so it adds to the challenge this week."

Jason Taumalolo. North Queensland Cowboys return from Brisbane after their loss to the Broncos. Picture: Alix Sweeney
Jason Taumalolo. North Queensland Cowboys return from Brisbane after their loss to the Broncos. Picture: Alix Sweeney

The Cowboys are in for another bruising showdown against a Sharks pack including the likes of and Andrew Fifita, but McLean said they won't back down even without Taumalolo.

"I think just plain and simple our pack needs to stand up against theirs so we really need to start well," McLean said.

"We've trained really well so far and I think we all know what we need to do."

News Corp Australia


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