John Asiata wants to lock himself into the Cowboys’ five-eighth role. Photo: Michael Chambers/ AAP
John Asiata wants to lock himself into the Cowboys’ five-eighth role. Photo: Michael Chambers/ AAP

Asiata out to make halves role a permanent gig

HE may not be the most conventional five-eighth in the NRL, but Cowboys utility John Asiata plans to make the most of it.

At 104kg and 1.83m tall, Asiata is one of the bigger playmakers in the competition after being named in the Cowboys' No.6 jersey for Sunday's clash against South Sydney.

In comparison, Melbourne Storm five-eighth Cameron Munster is 89kg, Penrith's James Maloney is 83kg and 176cm and Rabbitoh's Cody Walker comes in at 90kg and 179cm.

Samoan international Asiata said he dreamt of being the next Johnathan Thurston as a kid but as his age increased, so too his body size.

He said he never lost the playmaking skills he had practised as a child.

Coach Paul Green pulled a masterstroke against the Titans last Friday night, partnering Asiata with skipper Michael Morgan in the halves to accommodate the return of Jason Taumalolo in the forwards.

Asiata said he was grateful for the opportunity and planned to make the most of it.

"As a kid, I always wanted to play in the halves," he said.

Asiata always wanted to be the next Johnathan Thurston. (AAP Image/Darren England)
Asiata always wanted to be the next Johnathan Thurston. (AAP Image/Darren England)

"I looked up to Johnno (Thurston) as well.

"As my years went on, I got a little bit heavier so that (dream) went out the window.

"The skillset (to be a halfback) was always there.

"I'm happy to be given this opportunity and just have to make the most of it I guess."

Asiata has been one of North Queensland's best this year and was superb against the Gold Coast.

He finished the match with a try, a try assist and 26 tackles.

It was his creativity and kicking skill which also added to his highlights reel when he put in a grubber for winger Ben Hampton, who picked it up and offloaded back to Asiata for him to score.

Asiata gets set to put a kick through. Picture: Evan Morgan
Asiata gets set to put a kick through. Picture: Evan Morgan

"We had a play called but that play didn't go too well because we were one (player) short," Asiata recalled of the play.

"I looked out side of me and saw Benny (Hampton) by himself and (the Titans) winger was turned in a bit so I thought why not just give it a nudge and see what happens.

"I kicked it with my left and Benny got there. I just had to support and got lucky I got the ball and ended up scoring.

"I've always watched JT since I've been here and I've stayed behind at training doing a lot of kicking.

"The amount of work (JT) put into kicking, it takes a lot of time and this week I did a little bit more practice on my kicking. I'm just happy one of the kicks paid off."

Asiata said he's looking forward to coming up against a red-hot South Sydney team on Sunday where he will come head-to-head with possible Origin contender Walker in the halves.

News Corp Australia


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