The Courier-Mail

STARTS P32

ALL RD 23 TEAMS IN A SPE­CIAL THURS­DAY FOOTY FORMGUIDE

- PETER BADEL

JASON Tau­malolo is un­der pres­sure to re­dis­cover his me­tre-eat­ing mojo af­ter coach Paul Green de­clared the Cowboys’ charge to the NRL grand fi­nal will be­gin against Souths tonight.

Cronulla last week pro­vided a tem­plate on how to muz­zle Tau­malolo. The 110kg for­ward was re­stricted to a sea­son-low 70m in the 30-18 loss to the Sharks.

It was the third worst out­put of his 78-game NRL ca­reer, well shy of the 244m he reg­is­tered in his most bru­tal dis­play of the sea­son against the Storm in Round 4.

Af­ter the Sharks handed the Cowboys a premier­ship wake-up call, Green chal­lenged Tau­malolo to step up in Townsville tonight against a Souths pack led by the Burgess broth­ers.

“Jason he is de­vel­op­ing nicely, but there is more in him and we need to see it,” Green said.

“Jason can play a lot bet­ter than he did (against the Sharks).

“They prob­a­bly did their home­work on him. We need him and the rest of the guys to be at or near their best with the fi­nals not too far away.

“The Rab­bitohs are com­ing off a loss (against Manly) and they would be dis­ap­pointed, so we need to have more in­ten­sity in how we play and start get­ting ready for the big­ger games.’’

Only a week ago, Bron­cos great Dar­ren Lock­yer nom­i­nated Tau­malolo as the back­row fac­tor that could help break the Cowboys’ 20-year premier­ship drought.

Cronulla’s de­fence stopped Tau­malolo get­ting out of first gear at Re­mondis Sta­dium. He made only seven runs in 49 min­utes, and his 70m tally was only marginally bet­ter than his ca­reer­low as a starter of 69m.

Tau­malolo has av­er­aged 150m a game this sea­son, but he will be a prime tar­get in the run to the fi­nals.

Cowboys and Queens­land five-eighth Michael Mor­gan urged his team­mates to help take the heat off Tau­malolo.

“The Cronulla game was one of those nights where there were too many peo­ple off their games and that doesn’t help some­one like Jason,” Mor­gan said. “The more we can be switched on as a team, the more it will help our big­ger for­wards.’’

The Cowboys are equal first with Bris­bane but Green said his side must ramp up their ti­tle am­bi­tions.

“Our cul­ture is good, but we need to play bet­ter,” he said. “We’re get­ting closer to the fi­nals and we have to ramp up our prepa­ra­tions.

“It’s very hard in this comp for any team to stay up too long, but now I want to start see­ing some con­sis­tency.’’

 ??  ?? FULL CHARGE: Jason Tau­malolo on the at­tack for the Cowboys against the Sharks last week­end. Pic­ture: Mitch Cameron
FULL CHARGE: Jason Tau­malolo on the at­tack for the Cowboys against the Sharks last week­end. Pic­ture: Mitch Cameron
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