Jason Taumololo is ready for big test against the Rabbitohs pack.
Jason Taumololo is ready for big test against the Rabbitohs pack. Scott Radford-Chisholm

Taumalolo has Souths pack in sights

GETTING back on the field was step one, now Cowboys superstar Jason Taumalolo is staring down a clash of the titans against South Sydney's rampaging forward pack.

Taumalolo will likely be flanked by representative duo Gavin Cooper and Josh McGuire as he locks horns with an all-star Rabbitohs backrow led by English powerhouse Sam Burgess.

The 25-year-old Tongan international was unstoppable in his return from injury against Gold Coast Titans on Friday night making 211m from 22 carries in a 60-minute stint.

He also broke through three tackles, made one line break and scored a four-pointer in the Cowboys' 28-14 win at 1300SMILES Stadium.

But Taumalolo said the side needed to put that result behind them as they refocused for a tough challenge against the Bunnies.

Sam Burgess of the Rabbitohs celebrates scoring a try during the round eight NRL match between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Brisbane Broncos at ANZ Stadium. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
Sam Burgess of the Rabbitohs celebrates scoring a try during the round eight NRL match between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Brisbane Broncos at ANZ Stadium. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

"(South Sydney) displayed that (on Thursday), led by Sam Burgess, Cam Murray and the other Burgess brothers too," he said.

"They have been playing some great footy out there, obviously we got the win tonight but we won't be getting ahead of ourselves.

"Next week we need to be on our game, and a couple of times (against the Titans) we switched off and we can't be doing that against a team like South Sydney.

"For us, next week we will obviously work on a bit of recovery and then come back on Monday fresh and hopefully ready to go."

The Rabbitohs and Cowboys clash will be the final match of the NRL's inaugural Magic Round, with all eight games played at Suncorp Stadium.

It will also be the first time the Cowboys play against former teammate Ethan Lowe, who walked out on the club midway through the pre-season.

Lowe has been embroiled in the controversy surrounding an unconfirmed report that Paul Green was "losing the dressing room" at the Cowboys.

While the former North Queensland forward adamantly denied his involvement, the controversy is sure to add a bit of extra spice to the clash next weekend.

John Asiata (left) of the Cowboys is congratulated on his try by team-mates during the Round 8 NRL match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Gold Coast Titans at 1300SMILES Stadium. (AAP Image/Michael Chambers)
John Asiata (left) of the Cowboys is congratulated on his try by team-mates during the Round 8 NRL match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Gold Coast Titans at 1300SMILES Stadium. (AAP Image/Michael Chambers)

For Taumalolo it is just a chance to go up against his former roommate.

"Lowie has been playing well for (the Bunnies) off the bench," Taumalolo said.

"He has gone down there, obviously with new players and a new surrounding for himself, he has done very well. "The old roomie has been playing great, and he will be definitely trying to get one up on us."

Taumalolo's return could not have come at a better time for the Cowboys as they narrowly avoided equalling their worst start to a season.

It was also earlier than expected after he was given an estimated return time frame of 6-10 weeks after sustaining a Grade 3 medial injury to his right knee in the Queensland Derby loss to Brisbane back in Round 2.

The 117kg wrecking ball said it had been as much a mental battle to return to the field as it had been a physical one.

"When I did it I knew straight away what injury I had. This leg has caused me a lot of problems, and I didn't want to rush myself back. The whole five to six weeks, it was not only to get myself physically ready to come back but also mentally right.

"Putting a bit of confidence in myself, going out there and trying not to shy away from contact. Playing in the middle there is a lot of guys going low around the legs, and I just needed to get my head around that."

There might have been a bit of nervous energy welling up in the Cowboys superstar, dropping the ball on his first touch of the game, but it dissipated within minutes as he put in a game changing performance,

News Corp Australia


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