Cowboys skipper says Taumalolo a cut above
COWBOYS captain Michael Morgan says he never stops being amazed by Jason Taumalolo as the hulking forward prepares to unleash another barrage against the Broncos on Friday night.
Taumalolo began his season in spectacular fashion in last weekend's win over the Dragons, becoming just the second forward on record after former Maroons prop Steve Price to crack the 300 metre mark.
The 25-year-old was shifted to an edge in the first half to accommodate new recruit Josh McGuire, but Taumalolo was still unstoppable as he finished with six tackle busts, two line breaks, and a try assist.
Morgan and Taumalolo first crossed paths as juniors in Townsville, playing for the Cowboys in the 2011 under-20s grand final and also winning a Queensland Cup premiership with Mackay in 2013.
Both players have gone on to reach the pinnacle of the sport together at the Cowboys - winning an NRL title in 2015 - and Morgan said Taumalolo had always looked a cut above his peers.
"I first met him when I was 16 and he was I think 14 or 15 and he was the same size as he is now so it was unfair back then," Morgan said.
"I've been lucky enough to play a lot of footy with him through the 20s and he's always been very skilful and light on his feet like he is now.
"He was always on another level from everyone else and somehow he still is and hopefully he can keep going."
Morgan made the lighthearted prediction that Taumalolo could run for 350m at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night, saying the showdown with the Broncos always brought out the best in both teams.
"Everyone gets a little bit more energised for these games," Morgan said.
"I'm sure that after his game last week they'll make an emphasis on trying to target him, probably make him tackle, and get numbers in when he's carrying the ball.
"He might not have as many opportunities, but hopefully he can create them for himself or we can create them for him."
Morgan will also be in the hot seat for the Queensland derby as the Cowboys look for a new matchwinner following Johnathan Thurston's retirement.
Thurston has produced the decisive play in North Queensland's past five wins over the Broncos and Morgan said he would find time for a bit of extra field goal practice this week.
"There's a few guys who can kick them. Te Maire (Martin) has got a fair boot on him and Jordan Kahu's kicked a few for the Broncos so he's an option," Morgan said.
"I hadn't thought about that yet so I might do a few (at training) on Thursday."