JAMES TAMOU took a keen interest in Penrith’s fortunes this year.
After signing with the Panthers in June, he watched with excitement throughout the season as the club charged towards a semi-finals berth.
And while there were numerous highlights to choose from during Penrith’s hot streak through August and September, it was a moment much earlier in the season that stuck with 170-game bookend.
“Big Reagan Campbell-Gillard . . . I remember watching one game against Parramatta where he ran it straight at Junior Paulo off a drop-out and just flattened him, I’ve never seen anything like it,” he laughs.
“So there are two things I remember from that, don’t run at [Campbell-Gillard] and make sure you’re on his team.”
And that became a major selling point for the 27-year-old – the chance to join Trent Merrin in leading Penrith’s highly talented but very green pack.
“I came here, first day, and I’m used to being the tallest one and there were a few young boys that I’m looking up to,” says Tamou.
“So there are some big boys and if you see them they’ve got a lot of filling out to do and so much potential, so I hope to take on a bit of a leadership role there.”
With the addition of Tamou and Tim Browne, the Panthers now boast an engine room the envy of the competition.
Merrin is in career-best form, Bryce Cartwright will move back to the second row with Isaah Yeo, and young guns Campbell-Gillard, James Fisher-Harris, Chris Grevsmuhl and Sitaleki Akauola are all on the way up.
Feature appeared in November 24 issue of Rugby League Week magazine.