Panthers want a premiership: Tamou
Panthers recruit James Tamou has set the bar high at his new club, boldly declaring that premiership success in 2017 would be the definition of a good year.
Most players would be reluctant to talk up their side's chances - especially at a new club - but Tamou didn't shy away when asked what he and the team would consider a success next season.
"I think winning a premiership," he replied.
"From what I saw last year, there's only room to grow, and it's started already. We've had a couple of video sessions and I've been excited to watch what the boys can produce.
"A premiership, that's the number one goal, and I think that's on everyone's mind.
"I've been saying for a while that I'm very excited to come here. Their last 12 weeks of the season, I was very impressed because I'd signed and knew I was coming here so I'd kept an eye on them.
"They were definitely premiership contenders, and the way they went about the Bulldogs who were nothing short of walkovers, and then they had a bit of bad luck against Canberra.
"It just goes to show how young and resilient the side can be. It'll be good for everyone at the club to stick around and I guess that adds to the dynasty that they could build here."
Tamou joined the Panthers after spending the past eight seasons at the North Queensland Cowboys; another club that was on track for a dynasty, only to have their premiership defence thwarted by eventual champions the Sharks.
It wasn't the ending Tamou had hoped for, and the premiership-winning prop admitted his own form had dropped away at the backend of the season.
The 27-year-old averaged 131 metres in 2016, but that figure dropped below 90 in the Cowboys' three finals matches.
"I definitely wasn't [playing my best footy] and there were a few injuries creeping in there," he said.
"That last game against the Sharks was tough. Thinking about it just makes me cringe a bit leaving on that note.
"The talk was there, everyone was on the same page. We came off a pretty good win against the Broncos in extra-time and came up against the Sharks who deservedly took it out.
"It was a bit of a regret [the way we lost] but I had the break to get over that and now I'm here at the Panthers ready to start fresh."
A veteran of 12 Tests, Tamou was a shock omission from the Kangaroos side for the Four Nations tour to the UK, and while obviously stung, conceded it might have been a blessing in disguise.
"It was disheartening, but we had a big move and the wife [was] up there (Townsville) with three kids, and nothing had been moved yet," he said on his non-selection.
"It was a bit disappointing, but I would have gone away feeling not well leaving the wife there with the kids.
"They (the Kangaroos) have got a great team and they're doing well as we can all see. I know why I missed out. It just puts more fire in the belly for next time."
While he missed out on this tour, Tamou said he hadn't given up on a return to the green and golds in the future, citing new teammate Trent Merrin as a recent example of a player who had resurrected their representative career.
Merrin was overlooked for the NSW Blues in 2016, but on the back of a monster first year at the Panthers, made the Australian side and has played a starring role in the UK.
"I was reading something about him where he thought his [career] was sort of over representative-wise," Tamou said.
"We all know the valuable player that he is. I haven't thought about it, I guess. My first goal is to have a good pre-season and stay injury free. Once we start playing, all that representation stuff will come into it.
"'Mez' did exactly that. He came here and went to another level. That's a bit of a goal for me, but like I said, first things first I want to get through the pre-season and be injury free."