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Fraser Barton

Payten wary of Titans' ace up their sleeve

Rampaging Titans forward David Fifita has trained in the centres ahead of facing the Cowboys. (AAP)

Todd Payten is one cautious North Queensland coach after Gold Coast threw a spanner in the Cowboys' preparations by trialling Titans star David Fifita in the centres at training before their trip north.

Gold Coast coach Justin Holbrook said the 113 kilogram wrecking ball was shifted to the centres as an injury cover, but Payten was wary they might deploy their million dollar man in the backs on Saturday after seeing Cronulla's Siosifa Talakai's successful move.

"They're (Fifita and Talakai) very similar type athletes, they're explosive and powerful," Payten said on the eve of the clash in Townsville.

"We'll just adapt accordingly but he's certainly going to be a handful whether he's playing in the back row or in the centres."

The Titans ran in seven tries when the teams last met at Queensland Country Bank Stadium on their way to a 44-8 shellacking in round three 2021.

But with wet weather forecast and North Queensland boasting an improved defensive record, Payten said their kicking game is of huge importance.

Through six rounds the Cowboys have the fifth-best for-and-against points differential.

"They've got some some big bodies and some athletic bodies in their back five and they're going to get their sets rolling," he added.

"Our kicking game, plus our kick chase, plus the first two tackles are really important and that's something we've worked on through the week."

The Cowboys have made one change for their Anzac round clash with Griffin Neame back on the interchange bench after missing the win over Canberra due to concussion.

Co-captain Jason Taumalolo, who's in the top five for running metres and leads the NRL in post contact metres, said he's happy to have continuity back in his game but their defence will be key.

"Last year was a pretty interrupted year and I'm just happy to be back playing and trying to play my best footy too," Taumalolo told AAP.

"We need to definitely be on our game. Not just with their forward pack, but their back five especially, they are one of the hardest back fives to try and contain.

"We're going to have to turn up defensively this weekend."

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