North Queensland Cowboys, Todd Payten, Jason Taumalolo, fight, disagreement, players, team news

Cowboys coach Todd Payten has admitted for the first time that he put too much “pressure” on his best player Jason Taumalolo.

Payten sensationally called out Taumalolo last season, publicly accusing him of cutting corners in defense following a thumping loss to Penrith.

The second-year coach has been criticised for limiting Taumalolo’s minutes this season and there was a chatter the pair had fallen out.

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Payten conceded on NRL 360 on Monday night that he could have better handled his treatment of Taumalolo who is North Queensland’s highest-paid player.

But the Cowboys have stunned the critics this season to sit third on the ladder after nine rounds and Payten said he now laughs with Taumalolo about their past 18 months.

“I’ve known Jason for a long time and we’ve got a really good relationship, he knows how I operate,” Payten said.

“Look I put a bit of pressure on him which in hindsight was not the right thing to do but we’ve come out the other side and knew it would all quieten down when we started to win.

Todd Payten and Jason Taumalolo.Source: Getty Images

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“But for a little period there I was little bit frustrated that it kept dragging on.

“These past six months it’s almost amusing. Both Jase and I laugh quite a bit around all that noise.

“There were some lessons for both of us along the way.”

The Cowboys are flying with six wins from their opening nine matches and they face the Wests Tigers in Magic Round on Sunday.

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