James Tamou of the Cowboys will join the Panthers next season.
James Tamou of the Cowboys will join the Panthers next season. MICHAEL CHAMBERS

Cowboys egged on by different motivations

BRUISING Cowboy forwards James Tamou and Jason Taumalolo have different reasons for wanting to produce special games against the Broncos in Townsville on Friday night.

With the winners advancing to play Cronulla for a place in next month's NRL grand final and the losers packing their bags for 2016, the stakes could not be higher for the two Queensland clubs, which have produced some amazing clashes including last year's grand final heart-stopper.

For Tamou, it will be his final game in front of his passionate Cowboys fans before a move to Penrith next season.

That emotion, plus the knowledge the season is over for the loser, is expected to motivate the New South Wales prop to play above himself.

Taumalolo's motivation stems more from personal desire to makes amends for his egg-bombing exploits that embarrassed him and his club before last week's loss to Melbourne.

Cowboys coach Paul Green felt the egging drama had certainly impacted on Taumalolo and distracted him from focusing fully on the Storm game.

"He was probably disappointed in himself and felt he let his teammates down. He wasn't as good against Melbourne as he has been, but so were a lot of other guys,” the coach said.

"You'd like to think him and a few others will bounce back with big games on Friday night.”

The Cowboys will most likely be without centre Kane Linnett (leg), opening a spot for the improved Javid Bowen, who some consider unlucky to have been dropped following some good form.

"Javid's worked really hard and he hasn't dropped his bundle,” said Green, adding he had confidence in him to replace Linnett in such a high-pressure game.

"He worked hard to get his first chance and he made the most of it when he did, and it was a tough call to drop him.

"Kane is an outside hope but highly unlikely, but we will give him every chance, although I'm not holding my breath.”

The pressure is showing on Brisbane too, after Origin prop Josh McGuire and young bull Salesi Funaki had to be separated by teammates after a fiery clash at training this week.

The emotion is clearly building and even at training McGuire was not prepared to let the former Wests Tigers and Australian junior Kangaroo back-rower put one over him.