David Skipwith is the Herald's rugby league reporter

League: Warriors chasing Kiwis forward Jason Taumalolo

Jason Taumalolo of the Cowboys. Photo / Getty
Jason Taumalolo of the Cowboys. Photo / Getty

The Warriors are one of several clubs interested in snaring off-contract North Queensland and Kiwis lock Jason Taumalolo.

The NRL's most damaging forward won't come cheaply with price tag in excess of $1 million per season but the Warriors are backing their chances of luring the Auckland-born wrecking ball home.

The Warriors are yet to table a formal offer but have contacted Taumalolo's player agent Chris Orr to check what his potential plans might be.

It's not the first time the Warriors have attempted to bring Taumalolo to Mt Smart Stadium, after he turned down a reported $2 million offer before re-signing with the Cowboys in February 2015.

"He's a marquee player off-contract and I'd suggest we're one of several clubs who have expressed our interest," said Warriors recruitment boss Tony Iro.

"We've spoken to Chris and said we're interested if Jason's interested but obviously the Cowboys will be very keen to keep him and I also know there's several other clubs that are in our position as well.

"That's where it is at the moment and that's as far as it's gone."

The 23-year-old was due to meet with Orr in Townsville yesterday to go through his options, including a potential code switch to the NFL, before entering into any negotiations.

"I won't know what direction we'll be pursuing until after that," said Orr.

"We've had 10 clubs enquire and I said to every club, that until I sit down with Jason and go through a bit of a game plan for what he wants to do, then I'll get back to them after that.

"No one has made an offer. We've had a few clubs make enquiries, the Warriors being one of them, but all that is, is simply, 'what's Jason's position at the moment, what's he doing'.

"And I've told every club that until I meet with Jason then I won't know what his position is, but once I do then I'll return all their calls and we'll go from there."

A shift back to New Zealand would see him play under former Kiwis coach Stephen Kearney and join a Warriors pack containing fellow test teammates Simon Mannering, Issac Luke, Ben Matulino and 2018-signing Tohu Harris.

His ability to bend the line and get quick play-the-balls would help provide a platform for the Warriors backline featuring Kiwis captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and halfback Shaun Johnson, with five-eighth Kieran Foran unsigned beyond this season.

The bullocking back-rower was originally signed by the Cowboys as a 13-year-old and made at just 17 became the youngest North Queensland player to make his NRL debut.

- NZ Herald

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