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Jason Taumalolo charges through the Panthers defence at Pepper Stadium in Round 5.

He's 21, weighs 113kgs and is arguably the best attacking forward in the Telstra Premiership right now.

And he was so nearly a Warrior.

But this weekend against the Cowboys instead of admiring Jason Taumalolo's talents and looking forward to benefitting from them next season, the New Zealand club are likely receive a harsh reminder of what could have been.

Just over two months ago they came close to luring Auckland-born Taumalolo across the ditch with a multi-million dollar offer.

Instead he chose to remain loyal to the Cowboys and hasn't taken a backwards step since, heading into Saturday night's clash as the competition's seventh-best metre eater with an average of 171 per game.

The in-form lock also has 25 tackle busts, creating the type of space on the field which allows the team's other 'JT', Johnathan Thurston, to dominate matches with the ball in hand.

"Taumalolo is something we have got to take care of, he will be a big threat," said back-rower Bodene Thompson, who along with Taumalolo was part of the 2014 Kiwis squad which won the Four Nations.

"He is a lot broader than anyone else, he has wide hips and for a guy that size he can move laterally quite well.

"You don't expect a bloke like that to be able to go sideways and through the line with the speed and everything he has.

"Line speed and multiple contact at the same time are key, and cutting his legs down because he has good leg drive.

"It's all about working together, you can't go one out on him because he is just too powerful."

While there can be no doubting the class Taumalolo brings, the same thing can be said about the man tasked with containing him in the middle of the park this weekend.

Warriors captain Simon Mannering has been the club's rock to start the year, averaging 50 tackles with less than one miss over the first six games.

"'Dewy' (Mannering) is an outstanding defender and hopefully he can do a job on him. We expect him to because he is such a world class player," Thompson added.

"The middles will do a job and slow the big fella down. It will be [our biggest test of the year], they have got a solid pack who have stood up the last couple of weeks. 

"Even in the first few weeks when they had those hard losses it probably helped them understand what they wanted to do. 

"They cleared those losses out nice and early in the season and they will be looking to come back and have a good run."

Meanwhile the meeting with Taumalolo will be extra special for rookie front-rower Sam Lisone, who knows the giant Cowboy from their early days playing at the Otahuhu Leopards in south Auckland.

"He played a grade older than me when we were real young, I was 13 and he was 14, he was always like a bully [on the field]," Lisone said.

"We just have to show him the line and get numbers around him."

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