Teammates of Jason Taumalolo are excited enough if the big fellow is up and out of bed. However, in 2018 they have observed a dramatic makeover – from layabout to leader and at the time when they wanted it the most.
Leading from the front, having scored 466 tries in the field, with a combined running distance of over 5000 metres, Taumalolo has now started stretching his influence by becoming a more vocal member of the meeting of Cowboys team.
It is not the kind of role he has been at ease within the last few years, but in the absence of the co-captains of the club’s Matt Scott and Johnathan Thurston because of injury, Taumalolo stepped up when the team needed him most. In qualifying for the finals, securing eighth spot, and then go on a giant-killing run all through the Finals series, all credits must be given to the Tongan, with the effect of him taking a bigger responsibility, potentially helping North Queensland to profit for the next decade.
Whilst in the past, he was reknowned for his love of movies, simply sleeping or playing video games, now he has taken on a new mantle – taking a senior role at club level and committing himself to a 10-year deal, which is a record in itself, but also becoming a clut hero (and giving fans pride and joy of run) in the Tongan’s run to the World Championships semi-finals. With a match-up against Wales soon, you get the impression that UK viewers will be seeing a lot more of Taumalolo over the next few months.
Bearing in mind, Taumalolo split open from the ground to lead the Sipi Tau in the World Cup clash in Hamilton with with New Zealand, will be one of the lasting images of a superb and unforgettable tournament! With his history of rejecting the All Blacks, it must have been a sweet moment for him.
Ethan Lowe, who was the roommate of Taumalolo at the Cowboys for the past two years say about him this “Big ‘Hulky’ do not speak much, he just let his game do the job for him, but last year he grabbed a lot more leadership in that area.”