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NRL: Cowboys handed Taumalolo boost

North Queensland Cowboys coach Todd Payten is confident Jason Taumalolo can put an injury-hit 2021 behind him and return to top form in the new NRL campaign.

The Cowboys are priced at 33/1 to win the 2022 NRL grand final but finishing in the top eight and playing finals would be seen as a big success for the club.

Injury issues

Having Taumalolo available on a regular basis once again would be a huge help after he managed to play just 15 games last season because of hand fractures.

The 28-year-old suffered three hand fractures but Payten says the player has put it behind him and is looking good in pre-season.

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"He has come to work every day with a smile on his face. It's probably the best I've seen him train for a long period," Payten said.

"He's had some continuity with his training. He wants to captain the club and he wants to get us back to a winning franchise. I've been really excited about how positive he's been in that space."

Co-captaincy for 2022

Meanwhile Payten has also revealed he could go with co-captains this season with Taumalolo and former Warriors halfback Chad Townsend sharing the role.

"It's certainly something we're thinking about. We're having discussions internally at the moment," Payten added. "(Townsend) is an out-and-out professional. He's been a good voice for all of the group, not just the halves."

Payten has also revealed he has a fit and firing squad who are all available for selection as the new season fast approaches.

"I'm excited to be able to choose from a full squad given that they're fit and ready to go from a physical point of view in round one," Payten said. "I can pick them (all) tomorrow."

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