Taumalolo skips nap for best haul

Scott Bailey
Cowboys'Jason Taumalolo (r) produced a powerful display in the NRL win over Canterbury

Jason Taumalolo was motivated by North Queensland's epic Thursday schedule when he produced a career-best yardage haul against Canterbury.

Taumalolo ran 304 metres in Friday night's win over the Bulldogs, the most by any forward in a decade, according to Fox Sports Stats.

The NRL's own official figures had his efforts as high as a provisional 345 metres, overtaking Steve Price's record of 323 for the most by a forward.

The lock totalled more than 100 metres in post-contact metres alone, while he also busted six tackles, made a linebreak and scored a try.

But it came after a horror day of travel for the Cowboys.

With the NRL intent on managing player contact, they flew down late on the morning of the game and arrived at the empty ANZ Stadium by 4pm.

With no hotel booked, the team left the ground by 11pm for Sydney airport, where they again had a chartered flight to land in Townsville at around 2:30pm.

It's a scenario the Cowboys are likely to face all season, with teams flying directly in and out of cities for as long as the coronavirus outbreak remains.

And while Taumalolo would rather fly the day earlier so he can have his customary pre-game nap, Cowboys fans won't mind if Friday's logistics become a habit.

"I think the biggest motivation was the way today panned out," Taumalolo said.

"Flying out on the same day. Short preparation and the boys coming in. Everyone was still fatigued, a bit jet-lagged.

"Got dressed and got out there straight into a game of footy."

It was also the second time he had topped 300 metres in a match, after doing so against St George Illawarra in the opening round last year.

"You can't really stop him, he's one of a kind and I'm privileged and excited I get to play with him instead of against him," Cowboys teammate Josh McGuire said.

"I've been on the opposite end for a lot of years playing against him. I haven't got enough praise to say about Jase and Jordan McLean as well."