The Press

Why Kiwi turned down Warriors


As Jason Taumalolo prepares to line up against the Warriors this weekend, the Cowboys’ Kiwi wrecking ball has revealed just how close he came to joining the New Zealand club from next season.

The Warriors have long been keen to lure rugby league star Taumalolo back to his homeland.

In 2015, they offered him a $2 million contract only for the 24-year-old lock to re-sign with North Queensland for less money, that ultimately paid off for Taumalolo as the Cowboys won their maiden premiershi­p that season.

Earlier this year, the Warriors again came calling with another hugely tempting offer, which combined with the chance to be around family almost had Taumalolo packing his bags.

But having developed him into the best forward in the NRL, the Cowboys were desperate to retain the 2016 Dally M Medal co-winner and countered with an unpreceden­ted 10-year deal worth a reported $10 million.

Taumalolo admitted that the long-term security was too good to refuse but added that the Cowboys’ culture and his desire to finish his career as a one-club man also played a big part in his decision to turn down the Warriors.

In an ominous sign for the Warriors, Taumalolo is hoping to go up another gear for the run home to the finals.

‘‘I’ve been a bit dusty after having a week off but the body is ready for the last part of the season,’’ he told the Courier Mail.

‘‘I don’t feel too much pressure, it’s more I’ve got to step up a bit. I’ve got guys around me who help me. It’s great to have guys like that play around me and make my job easier.’’ The Cowboys host the 11th-placed Warriors in Townsville on Saturday night.

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