Tamou embraces Suncorp challenge
James Tamou's record at Suncorp Stadium isn't pretty, but the prop forward says history will mean nothing when the Panthers travel to Brisbane for Friday night's semi-final showdown with the Broncos.
Tamou last tasted victory at the venue playing for the Blues in 2014, but in the NRL Telstra Premiership it dates back even further to the 2011-12 seasons when the 28-year-old was at the Cowboys – and they were far from impressive victories with two-point wins in each.
The Broncos-Cowboys rivalry has been one of the decade's greatest battles, but Tamou insists the Panthers can match it with Wayne Bennett's men on Friday and create history of their own.
"We always used to get them up there [in Townsville] but never in Brisbane," Tamou told NRL.com.
"The Broncos at Suncorp… that's their whole thing on a Friday night. We'll be up against it.
"They've got a mountain of experience… Adam Blair, Sam Thaiday and even Josh McGuire have played in big games.
"I'll put my word in here and there when I need to, but the way the guys have been going they're gaining their experience with last week's game."
Both sides met just once during the regular season and the result was over at the half-time break after the Broncos raced out to a 22-0 lead.
Penrith stormed home with three tries in seven minutes for a more respectable 34-18 scoreline, but with an almost sell-out crowd expected, they'll need to force the Broncos into a grinding style of play.
"Teams can feel they've done their job until the clock runs out and that's where they can be vulnerable," Tamou said.
"But we can't let that happen again, we need a good start against this team.
"They'll put us away early again otherwise."
Penrith fell short of an incredible trend on the weekend against Manly – conceding their first try in the final 20 minutes of a game since Round 20.
But when you consider the Sea Eagles' final four-pointer came in the 62nd minute, it's safe to say Anthony Griffin's men have the backend of their game sorted.
"Wow, I was not aware of that at all. That's actually crazy good and possibly because I'm not on the field then," Tamou laughed.
"I guess it goes to show if we weather the storm early and go with a side, we give ourselves a good opportunity late.
"But the start is still huge, it can do so much for a team mentally, you can just about put them away and Manly did it to us a few weeks ago."