Cowboys unleashing NRL’s fastest man
The Cowboys will blood the fastest man in rugby league when Nines sensation Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow is unleashed against the Warriors.
North Queensland coach Paul Green will hand Tabuai-Fidow his NRL debut against New Zealand at the Central Coast on Friday night.
"Hammer Time" shot to fame at the Perth Nines in February, with his blistering speed and try-scoring nous helping the Cowboys clinch a second Nines title.
Green has trod cautiously with 19-year-old Tabuai-Fidow but believes the time is right to give the Cairns product a crack at the big league.
"Part of giving him a run in the Nines was to see how he'd go in that company," Green said.
"He's still developing. We would have liked to have given him a run earlier but he had a couple of injuries.
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"He's done everything asked of him. He's been training really well.
"You've got to give those kids a chance at some stage. I'm confident he can do a good job for us.
"One of the reasons the club came in was to give a pathway for talented north Queensland kids.
"It's a good story for us and Hamiso. Let's hope it's a good night for him."
The Cowboys poached "Hammer" from the Queensland Reds after spotting him playing schoolboy rugby for Brisbane Grammar.
The NRL has some genuine speedsters such as Josh "The Fox" Addo-Carr and James "The Jet" Roberts, but Tabuai-Fidow could be the fastest of them all.
"He is quick. He's up there," Green said.
"He one of those guys who only runs as fast as he has to.
"I played a lot of footy with David Peachey and he was similar. He would always stay a metre or two ahead of whoever was chasing him.
"Sometimes you're not sure exactly how quick those guys are because they only ever run as fast as they have to."
Green has shaken up his team after last Saturday's disappointing 26-16 loss to Cronulla.
Tabuai-Fidow will replace Ben Hampton on the wing while hooker Jake Granville has been dropped, with Reece Robson promoted to the starting side and Reuben Cotter on to the bench.
Backrower Coen Hess will return from an ankle injury, but star lock Jason Taumalolo is racing the clock to overcome a knee problem in time to face the Warriors.
"He trained today and will again on Thursday but he hasn't done a lot of full contact training," Green said of Taumalolo.
"We'll see how he gets through those sessions. We're not going to take any unnecessary risks with him."
1. Valentine Holmes, 2. Kyle Feldt, 3. Justin O'Neill, 4. Esan Marsters, 5. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow, 6. Scott Drinkwater, 7. Jake Clifford, 8. Francis Molo, 9. Reece Robson, 10. Jordan McLean (C), 11. Mitch Dunn, 12. Coen Hess, 13. Josh McGuire
Interchange: 14. Reuben Cotter, 15. Tom Gilbert, 16. Shane Wright, 17. Gavin Cooper
Reserves: 18. Corey Jensen, 19. Peter Hola, 20. Jason Taumalolo, 21. Tom Opacic