Taumalolo could spell trouble for Titans
THE Gold Coast Titans are expecting Cowboys wrecking ball Jason Taumalolo to be back on deck for their pivotal Friday night showdown in Townsville.
Taumalolo was unstoppable in North Queensland's season-opener against St George Illawarra, running 301m from 21 carries, making two line breaks and six tackle busts plus delivering a try assist.
But a knee injury suffered the following week has kept him sidelined since and it has proven a devastating blow for his team, who have sunk to 15th on the ladder.
Since the start of 2015, the Cowboys have won 55.8 per cent of games that their star lock forward has played. That figure drops off to 40 per cent for the 10 matches they've been without him in that period.
Thus, his potential return is an added hurdle for a Titans side already trying to overcome a dire 1-8 record in Townsville dating back to 2010.
"I think he was close last weekend so we're anticipating that he will play," Gold Coast coach Garth Brennan said.
"If he doesn't play, in saying that, they have still got a representative pack with (Matt) Scott and (Jordan) McLean and (Josh) McGuire and (Coen) Hess and (Gavin) Cooper. They're all representative players.
"If they can bring Taumalolo back into their team, I'm sure that will be a boost for them.
"We're focusing on that he will but we're also preparing more about ourselves than worrying about whether Taumalolo will or will not play."
Brennan confirmed AJ Brimson will be right to return from a broken thumb and will sport a precautionary brace.
Young forwards Moeaki Fotuaika (wrist) and Keegan Hipgrave (back) have also been cleared by team doctors.
The Titans and Cowboys are among a group of seven teams tied for 10th on the ladder, making their clash all the more relevant to not lose touch with the top eight.
On the topic of conquering their demons in the state's north, Brennan was unfazed.
"Townsville is always a great trip," he said.
"I love getting up to North Queensland. Hopefully it will be a dry track and we can play some entertaining football."