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Taulagi's rise to the Top 30

Less than three years ago Murray Taulagi had only ever played a handful of rugby league games, now the 19-year-old is a member of the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys Top 30 squad and has emerged as a genuine contender to claim an NRL debut in 2019.

Taulagi was unearthed by Cowboys Recruitment Manager Clint Zammit, who spotted the talented youngster playing rugby union for Brisbane State High School in 2016.

The Auckland-born outside back quickly relocated to North Queensland and was a sensation in the NYC during his first season of rugby league in 2017.

Despite only turning 19 at the start of the season, Taulagi spent the majority of 2018 playing in the Queensland Cup for Cowboys feeder club the Northern Pride, scoring nine tries in 19 games.

He was rewarded for his stellar season with Queensland Under 20s and Junior Kangaroos jerseys – all inside two years of taking up rugby league.

"[2019] will be just my third full year of league, I always played union growing up back in New Zealand," Taulagi said.

"I've been in Australia seven years now, I only started playing league in 2016. League was a bit different at the start and all my other friends stayed playing union, but it was definitely the right choice for me to make.

"There is better development in league and I'm at a really good club to further my potential.

"It's been pretty quick, I definitely didn't think things were going to happen this quickly, so it's been surprising."

After spending 2018 as a development player, Taulagi was promoted to the Cowboys NRL squad for 2019 and has spent the early parts of the pre-season extracting knowledge from experienced outside backs Kyle Feldt and Justin O'Neill.

"I really look up to Kyle Feldt, we play the same position and he always tips me up on what to do and where to be at what time," Taulagi said.

"I want to try and get a crack at NRL at some stage this year. Work ethic is the major thing I know I have to work on, I have to keep pushing myself to be better every day."