My NSW Origin career is all but over: James Tamou

By Matt Encarnacion, Matt Encarnacion is a Roar Guru

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    Penrith NRL star James Tamou has conceded his NSW State of Origin career is all but over as the state’s next generation of front-rowers comes to the fore.

    Tamou admits his individual form is well down this season at the Panthers compared to when he played all three Origin games against Queensland in his final season last year with North Queensland.

    Aaron Woods, David Klemmer and Andrew Fifita have all jumped Tamou in the Blues’ forwards stocks, closely followed by Kangaroo representatives Shannon Boyd and Jake Trbojevic.

    “My audition phase has already gone and I’m comfortable with that,” Tamou said on Tuesday.

    “And it’s not hard to see why. These young front-rowers coming through are playing unreal. I’ll back whatever team they have. They’ve got a lot of young boys to choose from.

    “I know any of them can do the job.”

    The 28-year-old hadn’t entirely given up hope of keeping his spot after turning in a monster 73-minute effort a fortnight ago for City against Country.

    And while he would welcome selection with open arms, his main priority was finding top form for the struggling Panthers, who last week finally broke a five-game losing streak.

    “I’m still scratching. I don’t feel like I’ve hit it yet. Personally, I’ve still got a lot to offer the team. I feel the couple of weeks I’ve had has done me good. It’s just building from there,” he said.

    “If picked, I’ll definitely put my hand up. Everyone wants to play rep footy, but there’s just players out there that have really deserved it. Whatever Laurie and the selectors go with, I’ll be happy.”

    Trent Merrin is another who is likely to remain on the outer despite being a mainstay in the Kangaroos’ line-up since last year’s Four Nations.

    He was part of the Test side who smashed New Zealand two weeks ago, but also acknowledged the emerging Blues’ talent at coach Laurie Daley’s disposal.

    “It just goes to show the talent that we do have in the NSW team, and that’s a great thing. We’ve got some great players coming through and that’s great for us as a NSW team,” Merrin said.

    “I don’t see it as a negative at all – you always want to challenge yourself and you always got players nipping you on the butt from behind just trying to push into that scene.”

    Merrin admits the Panthers’ poor start to the year could cost the club having any representatives in the interstate clash, including incumbent five-eighth Matt Moylan.

    Peter Wallace is another who has been mentioned as a possible hooker candidate.

    “If the team’s going well, it puts your individual performances in a better position to get selected. But in this case, we haven’t started the season off well,” he said.

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (8)

    • May 17th 2017 @ 5:01am
      Brett the Manly Fan said | May 17th 2017 @ 5:01am | ! Report

      I have always viewed James Tamou as solid rep player. I remember him coming through in 2012, a year that the Maroons had a large forward pack in David Shillington, Sam Thaiday, Dave Taylor, Petro and Matt Scott. I remember him and Tim Grant frequently getting in front of the QLD pack, making big tackles and taking plenty of gas out of their engine. He is one of the most athletic props, much like Willie Mason in his prime, tall, strong, plenty of go forward. I hope to see him line up for the Blues once more this year along side Klemmer and Fafita.

    • Roar Rookie

      May 17th 2017 @ 9:39am
      JOHNY BULLDOG said | May 17th 2017 @ 9:39am | ! Report

      Um,no thanks!

    • May 17th 2017 @ 10:11am
      MAX said | May 17th 2017 @ 10:11am | ! Report

      Nice blokes, BUT

      Rarely if ever is the effort produced on Panther’s paddock to warrant 4 x $750’s
      for Tamou and his cohort Merrin. They are playing contented football.

      • May 17th 2017 @ 1:24pm
        Albo said | May 17th 2017 @ 1:24pm | ! Report

        Whilst I never understood why the Panthers went for Tamou in the first place, ( I assume it must have been a Gus idea to try to help develop the younger Panther forwards emerging ?), I can’t completely blame Tamou & Merrin for their perceived drop in form. Seems to me that their game time has been reduced significantly this year ( maybe deliberately to bring on the younger brigade like Harawira-Naera, Kikau, Leoto etc ? ), Tamou is only averaging 45 minutes and Merrin 56 minutes where last year he was often putting in 80 minutes. Tamou played 73 minutes for City v Country and played strongly, and there seems to have been some improvement in his last couple of short 40 minute stints for the Panthers. Just not sure that the stop and start of interchange on their older bodies is helping either of their formlines ?

    • May 17th 2017 @ 10:39am
      andrew said | May 17th 2017 @ 10:39am | ! Report

      Well you are ebing paid like a rep player, so you might want to set some goals of playing to that level and making it back there sooner rather than later.

      I remember Tamou as a forward with hands like cement when he played Q-Cup for the Pride. No doubt he improved a lot since then and has had some impressive performances along the way, but Panthers paid way over’s for him.

    • May 17th 2017 @ 10:42am
      Adam said | May 17th 2017 @ 10:42am | ! Report

      Sorry to say – but after last years effort in SOO game 2 he should not be looked at again. He ran for a little over 40 metres in 50+ mins of footy. Not good enough and not worth the pricetag he has earnt at Penrith. Fifita, Klemmer, R James, Vaughan, Boyd, Paulo and J Trbojevic all much better players.

      • May 17th 2017 @ 10:02pm
        Oingo Boingo said | May 17th 2017 @ 10:02pm | ! Report

        Yep , definately should never be given another blue Jumper after that effort or lack of .

    • May 17th 2017 @ 11:32pm
      Sylvester said | May 17th 2017 @ 11:32pm | ! Report

      Maybe now the Origin cash has dried up, he’ll reverse Tonie Carroll himself into NZ selection contention…

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