Titans’ bold ploy: Target Taumalolo
TARGET Taumalolo. It's the bold ploy the Titans hope can take them to their fourth win of the NRL season.
Cowboys lock Jason Taumalolo is arguably the game's best player right now; in full flight he is a nightmare to bring to a halt and his 219 average running metres across his injury-unaffected games this year is testament to that.
With him, North Queensland have won four of six games in 2019. Without him, they've lost four of five.
But the Titans feel they can enhance their own chances of taking victory at Cbus Super Stadium on Sunday by exposing a flow of the 25-year-old.
"We did video on him earlier and we did see once he does consecutive tackles he does get a little bit lazy in defence," Gold Coast enforcer Keegan Hipgrave said.
"I'm not having a go at him, it's just what it looks like."
They were only able to make him commit to 19 tackles when the two teams met in Round 8 in Townsville.
The Titans were in the hunt for a win that day but it didn't quite come together, eventually falling 28-14.
They believe the more traffic they can send Taumalolo's way, the more they can dent his effectiveness with the ball.
"100 per cent. If we can tire him out as much as we can, that will help us for sure," Hipgrave added.
Hipgrave himself has put a frustrating start to the season behind him to reclaim the starting second-row role he held last year.
The 22-year-old Palm Beach Currumbin product is confident he is past that injury "hump", although he will have to manage an issue with his back for the rest of his career.
"I've got a pars defect," he said.
"It's not uncommon, it's just something that you have to manage probably being load-based, so going zero to 100 or not doing so much and then doing a massive load, that would probably stir it up a bit.
"Once it tightens up, it puts strain on my hamstrings and hips and once they tighten up they are prone to either a tweak or a tear.
"So the main thing is to hold (a consistent) load and stay as flexible as I can."
The Round 12 Titans v Cowboys match kicks off at 4.05pm Sunday.