It's a scary proposition for his opponents but Cowboys wrecking ball Jason Taumololo is aiming to play more minutes in 2019 after his surprising switch to the second row.
Taumalolo will wear the unfamiliar No.11 jersey when he lines up against the Storm in Mackay on Saturday night with off-season recruit Josh McGuire named to start at lock as part of North Queensland's middle-forward rotation.
Tongan international Taumalolo, who has started at lock since 2015 and last played in the second row in round 24 in 2014, is looking to spend more time on the field and embrace a key role as Michael Morgan's protector in the defensive line.
Cowboys coach Paul Green, who played him in the second row for most of the 2014 season, came up with the idea to return the 25-year-old powerhouse to the edge.
Taumalolo told NRL.com he was expecting his role to become clearer in the lead-up to the season opener against the Dragons on March 16.
"I guess Greeny’s just trying different combinations. Hopefully it kind of pans out over the next few days and becomes a bit clearer coming into round one," Taumalolo said.
"I've been training mostly in the middle but I've been swapping in and out of the back row. I think it’s just trying different combinations to see what works.
"I won’t have to do as much work if I'm in the back row but running good lines and obviously protecting our halfback are key... I'm looking forward to playing back row. It's been a while."
Cowboys assistant coach Josh Hannay said the trial was the perfect opportunity to test several new combinations.
“You get the opportunity to experiment with a few different combinations and Jason's move could be something we look at for round one and starting him on an edge," Hannay said.
"I'd be very surprised if he doesn't find his way into the middle at some point during the game. Gavin Cooper will come onto the field on an edge because that's where he plays so well and when he does that Jason will move into the middle.
“We're really looking forward to having a look at how it works against the Storm. If it's a good mix for us it's certainly something we'll look at going forward.”
For Taumalolo there is also an opportunity to see more game time. He played 80 minutes just three times in the Telstra Premiership in 2018 and is keen to play the full game more often.
"Yeah, if given the opportunity I’ll happily take that," Taumalolo said.
“I think that's part of the reason why I'm playing second row to stretch out my minutes a bit."