North Queensland Cowboys against Gold Coast Titans at 1300Smiles Stadium. Cowboys John Asiata. Picture: Evan Morgan
North Queensland Cowboys against Gold Coast Titans at 1300Smiles Stadium. Cowboys John Asiata. Picture: Evan Morgan

Thurston inspires Asiata’s brilliance with the boot

STANDING 1.8m tall and tipping the scales at 104kg, John Asiata will be one of the biggest five-eighths to lace the boots this season.

It is a position he feels comfortable in, and while he would like to make it his own, Asiata said he was just happy to have any role in the Cowboys side.

The Samoan international proved the game changer against the Titans on Friday, after he broke the scoring shackles for the Cowboys in the second half and wrestled the momentum back in favour of the home side.

While he touched down for the try, it was the lead up work from the five-eighth that impressed most with a heads-up fourth-tackle grubber finding Ben Hampton on the burst down the wing.

"We had a play called, that play didn't go so well because we were one short. But I looked outside me and Benny was by himself," he said.

"I just thought 'what am I going to do?' Their winger was turned in a bit, so I thought why not give it a nudge and see what happens.

"I kicked it with my left, and Benny got there, and I just had to support through the middle there and I was lucky enough to get the ball and score."

It seems rather simple when Asiata describes it but it was a play reminiscent of the Samoan's childhood idol, Johnathan Thurston.

"It was just one of his tricks that he has taught me I guess," Asiata laughed. "I have always watched (Thurston), since I have been here I have watched him stay behind (after) training doing a lot of kicking. The amount of work he puts into it, it takes a lot of time.

"This week I did a bit more. I don't normally practice kicking but this week I had to do a bit of it just in case, and I am glad one of them came off."

The effort from Asiata was backed up by a late four-pointer from Justin O'Neill as the Cowboys enjoyed a pressure-relieving 28-14 win against the Titans.

But with an impending clash with one of the NRL's in-form sides in South Sydney, and a one-on-one match-up with a firing Cody Walker, Asiata said the Cowboys had no time to rest on their laurels.

"It is one win, we can't just win one game and next week think it is going to happen again. We learnt that against the Warriors and when we went to the Bulldogs and they got us at ANZ," he said.

"It is (going to be hard), they are playing some good footy. We have to learn off what we did this week, whatever we did well we need to take with us, and whatever we need to fix we will make sure we fix it during the week.

"This process that we're doing at the moment, it is all about us. It is all about what we want to achieve.''