Cowboys and New South Wales prop James Tamou has added his voice to calls for State of Origin to be played as stand-alone fixtures.
Despite scoring a try in North Queensland's 18-16 defeat by Parramatta on Friday night, Tamou admitted he was still feeling the effects of the brutal Origin opener in Brisbane nine days earlier. He also faced Melbourne last Saturday.
"I felt really flat, to play State of Origin and then turn around on a Saturday night and then have a short turnaround for this week is a tough ask," Tamou said. "We tried to have a lighter week, but I felt flat. I don't know about the other boys who played Origin.
"The talk right now is what are they going to do about Origin and if the weight of numbers are behind making it stand-alone, then I'll be there."
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Tamou made his Origin debut in 2012 but said he's already noticed an increase in the intensity of games.
"I can't remember feeling like that during and after a game," Tamou said of the Blues' 12-8 win in game one. "During the back end of that game, I was struggling to breathe, let alone play a game of rugby league.
"The demands on the body meant I just had nothing in the tank. To know you have a game 72 hours later is pretty tough."
The Cowboys' defeat to the Eels extended their woeful run of results outside of Townsville.
Paul Green's side have lost all six of their away games this year and Tamou said coach and players are scratching their heads as to why they can't replicate their home form on their travels.
"Greeny put it to us and asked us 'what's different?"' he said. "But we couldn't find an answer so I guess it's still lingering around.
"We need a scrappy win just to get the monkey off our backs and it looked like we were going to get it against Parra but we just didn't start well. We came close, but they ran hard and just wanted it more."