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Taumalolo hits form for Cowboys ahead of Dolphins clash

North Queensland powerhouse Jason Taumalolo is fresh from what his coach said was his best game of the season as the Cowboys aim to get their season back on track against the Dolphins in Townsville.

The Cowboys are ninth on the NRL ladder after losing their last three matches, including a 26-20 defeat to Penrith after trailing 24-4 at one stage.

Veteran forward Taumalolo came off the bench and ran for a season-high 132m and made 27 tackles, with just one missed, against the Panthers in a performance that lifted the side.

The 2015 premiership winner will need to return it up on Saturday night against the sixth-placed Dolphins, who the Cowboys beat 43-18 in round one.

“I thought that was his best game for us,” Cowboys coach Todd Payten said.

“He made a real impact when he came on and carried the ball well and made his tackles.

“It is something for him to build off, which has a real positive impact for our team.”

Center Tom Chester tore his hamstring last week and is set to miss four to six weeks.

His place will be taken by former Warriors outside back Viliami Vailea who will make his club debut.

“I thought he had a good week (at training) defensively and asked him not to wait for the game and that he has got to go to the contest,” Payten said.

“Viliami is a highly talented kid and had a bit of work to do the last couple of months to get himself fit.

“He has done that and there is an opportunity for him.”

Payten said the Dolphins were a low risk and competitive team who would take some beating.

The Cowboys have more flamboyance but will be keen to reduce their error rate.

“I want to make teams earn it and not just gift them opportunities,” Payten said.