SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 01: Jason Taumalolo of the Cowboys looks on during the round 20 NRL match between the Wests Tigers and the North Queensland Cowboys at Leichhardt Oval on August 01, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 01: Jason Taumalolo of the Cowboys looks on during the round 20 NRL match between the Wests Tigers and the North Queensland Cowboys at Leichhardt Oval on August 01, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

JT v Pangai Jr II: Heavyweights ready to rumble again

NORTH Queensland lock Jason Taumalolo says he cannot wait for his head-to-head battle with Broncos enforcer Tevita Pangai Jr on Thursday night after coming off second-best in Round 2.

The two 110kg forwards all but rocked the foundations of Suncorp Stadium in the Queensland derby in March but Taumalolo lasted just 34 minutes before being sidelined with a knee injury.

Pangai Jr's damaging performance had him touted as becoming the NRL's next million-dollar player and he now heads north to prove his worth yet again.

The Broncos dominated in their 29-10 win, with Pangai Jr running riot with 106m, five tackle breaks, a linebreak and a try.

Taumalolo's medial ligament strain forced him to miss the next five weeks.

The Tongan teammates will collide again at 1300Smiles Stadium in a Round 21 match billed as a must-win for both sides.

Pangai Jr is expected to return to the Broncos' line-up after serving a one-match suspension and Taumalolo said he was looking forward to the young gun's visit.

"We all know what Tevita is capable of, he showed that against us in Round 2," Taumalolo said. "He's still learning on his terms. He's still a young player.

Tevita Pangai Jr is expected to return from a one-week suspension to take on the Cowboys. Picture: AAP
Tevita Pangai Jr is expected to return from a one-week suspension to take on the Cowboys. Picture: AAP

"Obviously the way he does play, like the way he played against us in Round 2, he's definitely one of the best young forwards in the game.

"I haven't really thought about playing him since then but I'm looking forward to playing Tevita come Thursday."

The Cowboys' finals aspirations took a massive hit following their 28-4 loss to the Tigers last week at Leichhardt Oval and they are desperate to bounce back with a win at home.

Bronco-turned-Cowboy Josh McGuire said the players were focused on grinding out a win for their local fans.

Jason Taumalolo won’t hold back against the Broncos on Thursday night. Picture: Getty Images
Jason Taumalolo won’t hold back against the Broncos on Thursday night. Picture: Getty Images

"It's been the story of our year at the moment where we haven't really been able to find our groove in certain areas," McGuire said.

"(Thursday's game) will be a big thing for the community.

"Round 2 was a long time ago and we've had to go through injuries and Origin since then.

"We're just at the stage of the season at the moment where we just need to start playing some good footy and string some wins together."

Live stream the 2019 NRL Telstra Premiership on KAYO SPORTS. Every game of every round live & anytime on your TV or favourite device. Get your 14 day free trial >