Don't call me out: Taumalolo
Don't poke the beast.
Cowboys enforcer Jason Taumalolo admits he rises to the challenge even further when an opposition player threatens to derail his impact on a game.
That was again the scenario in the lead-up to the preliminary final, with Roosters prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves the next to signal his intentions to stopping the Kiwi wrecking ball.
Roosters coach Trent Robinson labelled the comments made by Waerea-Hargreaves as "misquoted" after the clash, but there was no denying Taumalolo was the beneficiary with another monstrous 256-metre effort.
"Whenever someone does call me out in games, I don't make it personal but it gives me motivation to go out there and give it that bit extra," Taumalolo told NRL.com.
"I find it fun, and against Jared, yeah, we exchanged a few words on the field.
"He's a big physical thing and I've got respect for him, but I did a job and that's all that matters."
The Kiwi international has no problems talking the talk himself and has been in the middle of his fair share of verbal exchanges throughout his career.
Cowboys coach Paul Green made reference prior to the semi-final against Parramatta that he's had a word to Taumalolo in recent years that if he ever talks through the media to a player, he'd need to back it up with a strong performance.
"I think that's confidence, if you know you can back it up and want to talk. I feel like a lot of players go out there and say a lot in papers but don't do it on the field," Taumalolo said.
"That happened to me once and I haven't looked back since."
Cowboys skipper Gavin Cooper weighed in on the Taumalolo - Waerea-Hargreaves battle, declaring his teammate a winner not just on the scoreboard.
The Roosters scored tries both before and after half-time to snatch a 12-8 lead – all while Taumalolo took a breather on the sidelines.
His return to the paddock helped set up Kane Linnett's four-pointer in the second half following a charging run to the line.
"He (Waerea-Hargreaves) put the pressure on himself by doing it and Jase got a points decision again tonight," Cooper said.
"Some boys have called him out lately and Jase has showed again he's far and away the best forward in the comp.
"At the start of the second half when the Roosters got the jump our bench were holding on but we started to get on a roll again when Jase came back on and that's no secret.
"We'll need him to be better, and all of us to be, next week."
Taumalolo assumed heading into the decider that Melbourne's forward pack would stay clear of any talk towards him and was overall expecting a quiet week down south.
"There's no need for anyone to call out anyone," Taumalolo said.
"It's a grand final and that should be enough motivation for myself to play some great footy."