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McLean: Titans talk will fire up Taumalolo

New Cowboys skipper Jordan McLean is backing Jason Taumalolo to unleash his best against the Titans after comments from Jai Arrow during the week.

Arrow talked up Taumalolo's ability to score runaway tries on  Monday before stating that the Titans were "going to have to get numbers in and make sure we're dominating the ruck".

"They're a big forward pack, so fatigue can get to them," Arrow said

"Taumalolo and Jordan McLean, hopefully, we get them off as soon as possible."

On the surface the comments seem innocuous enough ahead of Friday night's clash in Townsville but McLean said they would light a fire in Taumalolo's belly.

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"I enjoy it when people come out and say stuff about Jase. He always comes out and performs when people talk about him," McLean said.

"I'm sure that has lit a fire in him and hopefully he goes out and runs another 350 metres.

"Me and Moose [Josh McGuire] will be by his side and we will be doing our job as well.

"With great players like Jase, you can't take them out. You can only limit what they do. Jase always goes out and has a great game when people question him."

McLean is excited about leading the side in the absence of the injured Michael Morgan. Earlier this year he activated a two-year option in his favour to keep him at the club until the end of 2022.  

"I'm really starting to love the place up here," he said.

"This time of the year the weather is beautiful and at the club I can really see something building here.

Cowboys prop Jordan McLean.
Cowboys prop Jordan McLean. ©Gregg Porteous/NRL Photos

"The last couple of years probably hasn't been our best but the next couple of years we can build something special. Hopefully, this year can be it."

The Cowboys have said farewell to Matt Scott and Scott Bolton at the end of 2019 but forward Coen Hess has taken his game to another level this year and McLean can only see upside for the former Maroons representative.

"I have been calling him 'the thoroughbred' because he is looking that trim and fit. He's got veins coming out everywhere," McLean said.

"He came back in great shape after the break and really made the time off useful for himself. I think he is at the peak of where his body can go and hopefully he can transfer that on the field."

McLean also has the confidence of his coach Paul Green who said the former Test prop would relish being given the captaincy.

"Taking the option up is a sign of his confidence in where we are going as a club," Green said.

"To be honest I think he has been something of a reluctant leader but he has leadership qualities so by giving him that extra responsibility hopefully it will bring out the best in him, and I am confident that will be the case.

"Macca has been vice-captain while Morgo was captain so it was probably a natural progression for him to step up.

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"Jason [Taumalolo] captained us to a Nines victory and is no stranger to being a leader. He has done a great job with Tonga over the last couple of seasons also."

The Cowboys will be without veteran back-rower Gavin Cooper for the home clash with the Titans on Friday night due to a calf strain.

The 34-year-old sustained the injury on the club's return from an enforced break due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"The first week back at training he strained his calf so he’s only just got back into full unrestricted training," Green said.

"It is probably not worth the risk at this stage to play him this weekend."

Green said it was too early to say how many games Cooper would miss.

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