Two years ago Jason Taumalolo very nearly became a Cronulla Shark.
But the North Queensland enforcer has no regrets sticking with the Cowboys despite their dire plight ahead of Sunday’s NRL elimination final with his former suitors Cronulla.
Taumalolo was reminded of just how close he came to joining this weekend’s foes after Sharks captain Paul Gallen chewed his ear at the 2015 All Stars game.
“At the time I was (close),” Taumalolo agreed.
“I was still young and weighing up my options.
“I didn’t think Gal would be playing too much longer but the way he has been showing us young boys how to play, he’s still one of the big boys.”
However, Taumalolo said he did not wonder what might have been despite the Sharks’ success.
The NRL’s oldest player Gallen – who turned 36 last month – has found another gear to ensure the defending premiers are overwhelming favourites against the depleted Cowboys.
Reeling from an injury list that ballooned out to 12 players three weeks ago, North Queensland had to rely on other results to scrape into the top eight.
“I think the boys around me made my decision easy,” Taumalolo said of staying at North Queensland.
“I had the respect of my teammates and the coaching staff and I had it for them so that made my choice easier.
“And I love living in north Queensland and that won’t change any time soon.”
Taumalolo is on a collision course with Gallen on Sunday after amassing the most total run metres (4243m) and averaging the most metres per game (192.9m) this season.
But Taumalolo scoffed at the suggestion he was carrying the Cowboys’ finals hopes.
“We are not a one-man team,” he said.
“We have strike weapons right across the park, hopefully on Sunday they all fire.”