Jason Taumalolo of Tonga leads the challenge during the 2017 Rugby League World Cup Semi Final match between Tonga and England in Auckland. Picture: Getty
Jason Taumalolo of Tonga leads the challenge during the 2017 Rugby League World Cup Semi Final match between Tonga and England in Auckland. Picture: Getty

Young Bronco looks forward to Taumalolo clash

YOUNG Broncos forward Joe Ofahengaue has revealed how Cowboys wrecking ball Jason Taumalolo inspired him throughout their World Cup campaign for Tonga.

The international teammates will come face-to-face when Brisbane and North Queensland meet in tomorrow night's blockbuster showdown at Suncorp Stadium.

Joe Ofahengaue takes a few tips from Broncos coach Wayne Bennett at training on Monday. Picture: AAP/Dave Hunt
Joe Ofahengaue takes a few tips from Broncos coach Wayne Bennett at training on Monday. Picture: AAP/Dave Hunt

While Ofahengaue and Taumalolo have come up against each other a number of times on the field, last year's World Cup was the first time they were allies.

Ofahengaue said he did not take the opportunity to seek advice from Taumalolo, who has stamped his authority as one of the game's best forwards in recent years.

However, the Brisbane young gun said both him and his Broncos and Tongan teammate Tevita Pangai Jr took plenty of inspiration from observing the Dally M winner and the heights he has reached in the game.

"I didn't really pick his brain but just to hang around with him, a class player like that who is a couple years older than us, it really gives us a boost of confidence," Ofahengaue said.

"To see what he can do, hopefully we can one day do the same thing.

"Maybe not win a Dally M but we could go close to what he does.

"He's a real good guy and it was good to get to know him on a personal level.

"As a Tongan, when you see another Tongan doing well you want to compete against each other. That's just going to be the main thing (on Friday). Competing against him will be fun."

Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett criticised the Broncos' forwards after their performance against the Dragons last week, with the pressure on the pack to stand up against a strong Cowboys outfit.

Taumalolo will be a major focus for the Broncos after he ran for a massive 184m off 17 runs and made 25 tackles against the Sharks.

Jason Taumalolo (centre) leads the Sipi Tau against the Kiwis during the 2017 Rugby League World Cup match in Hamilton. Picture: Getty
Jason Taumalolo (centre) leads the Sipi Tau against the Kiwis during the 2017 Rugby League World Cup match in Hamilton. Picture: Getty


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