Taumalolo admits he takes it easy on teammates in training
IT'S the unwritten pact the envy of every rival forward in the NRL.
Cowboys talisman Jason Taumalolo has confirmed he has a "gentlemen's agreement" with his fellow North Queensland forwards where he triggers the mercy rule in contact drills at training.
The Dally M Medallist's devastating runs leave rivals scattered in his wake but on the training paddock, his teammates are spared of the carnage.
"I look after the boys a bit," Taumalolo said.
"Obviously I know I'm twice the size of a few of the boys here, so we have a gentlemen's agreement the boys like to make with me, and I'm more than happy to take it.
"I roll over for them but sometimes I get caught out by the coaches not running or tackling hard enough.
"I overexaggerate it a bit so it makes the other boys look good.
"In times like that the boys don't like getting too physical and I tend to help them out."
The Cowboys hierarchy is surely willing to give the 24-year-old some wiggle room at training given the workload he has shouldered this year.
Without the injured Matt Scott to give him a "tap out", Taumalolo has been targeted even more heavily.
But he has still managed to go to the next level in averaging a league-best 205 metres per game.
He said his ability to handle the heat as rival forwards adopt a pack mentality to quelling his dominance was between the ears.
"It's pretty much a natural progression, but most of all I've become a lot tougher mentally," Taumalolo said.
"Early in my career I wasn't used to the physicality and speed of the game, and mentally I've definitely become stronger, which has helped me play more minutes."