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The VB Blues' usual starting prop had limited game time in 2016, but James Tamou put his best foot forward no matter where he played.

Tamou, who had started nine of his 11 Origins to date in the front row, played just one there this year, with coach Laurie Daley mixing up his role in creating the team's go-forward. Following some solid club form and an outstanding performance for the Kangaroos in the trans-Tasman Test, the 27-year-old was named on the bench for the first Origin encounter, before a last-minute switch with Greg Bird saw him start at lock. Tamou didn't set the world on fire in this position, but his 81 metres and 23 tackles from 31 minutes were solid nonetheless.

The North Queensland Cowboy returned to his more familiar role in the second game, but managed just 34 metres from two short stints in the front row. Moved back to the bench for the VB Blues' victorious Game III, Tamou had his best performance yet, with 10 runs in just 26 minutes amounting to 85 metres.

A move to the Penrith Panthers for the 2017 season will be vital to Tamou's Origin chances, where he will line up against fellow NSW hopefuls Trent Merrin, Bryce Cartwright and backs Matt Moylan and Josh Mansour. He might not have had his best season in 2016, but expect a change of scenery to reinvigorate the big prop as he looks to perform for his new club.

James Tamou

Origins: 14
2016 Matches: 3
 (Games I, II and III)
Restart Returns: 51 metres
Effective Tackle Percentage: 98.3 per cent
Hit Ups: 20

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