Jason Taumalolo producing a man of the match performance hardly comes as a shock at this stage of the Cowboys lock’s already incredible career, but his effort in the Round 1 victory over St George Illawarra reached heights even he has rarely managed to touch.
Taumalolo ran for a monstrous 301 metres in just 62 minutes, with just shy of 100 of those metres coming after contact. To put the enormity of those achievements into perspective, Nene Macdonald was the Cowboys second highest metre gainer with 172, a total 129 metres shy of Taumalolo’s figure.
The Tongan wrecking ball was named in his famous No.13 jersey, but actually started the game at left-second row before moving back to the middle of the field mid-way through the first half.
Taumalolo also finished with seven tackle breaks, two line-breaks and a crucial try assist which sent Te Maire Martin over in the second half.
Unsurprisingly head coach Paul Green named Taumalolo Tropic Petroleum Man of the Match during post-game presentations at Cowboys Leagues Club.
“It was a great team performance, I thought the whole squad played well which is really pleasing from a coaching perspective,” Green said.
“In saying that there were a couple of standout performers, Michael Morgan was really good, Johnny Asiata made a big difference when he came on and I thought all of our debutants were strong as well, but the guy we gave man of the match to was simply awesome and that was big Jason Taumalolo.”
In typically humble fashion, Taumalolo paid tribute to his teammates when asked about his performance.
“The boys have worked really hard all pre-season and it was really pleasing to see it all come together against the Dragons,” he said.
“I’m happy to play whatever position Greeny wants me to, I don’t think my role changes too much whether I start the game on an edge or in the middle.”