NRL Cowboys' Taumalolo suffers broken hand

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North Queensland co-captain Jason Taumalolo is set to miss up to a month after suffering a fractured hand at training on Thursday.

The Cowboys insist a time frame on Taumalolo's return will be clearer in the coming days as they seek more medical advice.

It comes as the Cowboys look to bounce back after their opening loss to Penrith against St George Illawarra on Saturday in their first home game of the season.

The injury occurred during an opposed contact session on Thursday as the Cowboys were preparing to face the Dragons.

Coach Todd Payten is likely to look to Corey Jensen or Josh McGuire to replace the powerhouse forward.

Meanwhile, it's early in the NRL season but Cowboys star Valentine Holmes is adamant he plays his best football at fullback.

Since Payten took over coaching duties, Holmes has trained at both wing and fullback and has lost the number one spot to Scott Drinkwater.

Payten mentioned in the preseason his selections at the back of the field is someone who prioritises organisation of the team defensively.

Holmes doesn't believe that's an issue in his game and will happily play wherever he's needed, but he says his best footy is still played at the back of the field.

"The reason I came to the Cowboys is to play fullback," he said.

"I played on the wing at the Sharks and in my rep footy, so coaches know I can play wing, but it's like I said it's not the position I feel like I can play my best footy at.

"To be able to do what's best for the team and just to play on the weekend, that's what I want to do."

A few strong showings by Holmes could see him fight with Drinkwater for the starting position as Payten has said he'd like to get Drinkwater more involved in kicking late in tackle sets.

Halfback Jake Clifford will depart the club at year's end, and an early season shift of Drinkwater into the halves could be the difference to unlocking a star-studded Cowboys spine.

The Cowboys struggled to get a hold of both their attacking and defensive schemes in a brutal round-one loss to Penrith.

Their focus against the Dragons will be ball retention and unlocking their dynamic back-line particularly on the left edge, where Holmes is paired with the exciting Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow.

Holmes is confident with a bit more game time they can unlock the power their attack possesses.

"Last week we didn't get much good ball, even Hammer (Tabuai-Fidow) inside me is a very dangerous player with the ball and we couldn't really see too much of it in transition," he said.