Cowboys cop it: Taumalolo experiment called a fizzer
Former Queensland workhorse Corey Parker has called on Cowboys coach Todd Payten to work out a better game plan for star forward Jason Taumalolo following criticism of the mentor's tactics on Saturday night.
Taumalolo was limited to just 51 minutes in North Queensland's season opener against Penrith - resulting in just 55 running metres from seven hit-ups.
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It was a significant drop in workrate by the Tongan international's standards, who averaged 192 running metres a game in 2020.
Payten revealed during the pre-season of his plan to reduce Taumalolo's minutes but the idea has come under heavy criticism in the aftermath of North Queensland's 24-0 loss to the Panthers.
The head coach defended his decision to bench Taumalolo during the match, arguing the monster forward had missed opportunities to apply kick-chase pressure in defence.
Parker - who averaged more than 60 minutes a game across a 16-year career - has urged the head coach to scrap his current game plan for one of the best forwards in the game.
"If he's sitting on the bench for a long period of time, they get disinterested," Parker said on Fox League's Sunday Ticket.
"They need to work out a better scenario for Jason Taumalolo for the betterment of the team.
"You ask any player would you rather Taumalolo on the bench or playing against you, I know what the answer is going to be.
"You can use him in different ways and a lot smarter.
"On the bench is not the place for him."
Payten also labelled his decision as a "long-term decision about Jase's health and my ambition to hold onto the job".
"Jase is contracted here for seven years," Payten said after the match.
"If we cook him, 65-75 minutes a game, in 3-4 years, what value are we going to get out of him?"
Parker said he couldn't understand the notion of resting a player to preserve his longevity in the game.
"I don't get the idea at all (to preserve him for the duration of his contract)," he said.
"This guy has been in the NRL for a period of time.
"He understands his craft and knows his role.
"They just got it wrong.
"To say he is preserving him, is a smokescreen in my mind."
Originally published as Cowboys cop it: Taumalolo experiment called a fizzer