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Dally M Medallist, premiership winner and still only 23-years-old.

While the North Queensland Cowboys will be missing the likes of Johnathan Thurston, Lachlan Coote and Jake Granville this weekend, Jacob Saifiti says the nib Newcastle Knights will still have their hands full trying to contain Jason Taumalolo.

“I think Taumalolo is the best player in the NRL, and we need to control their middles,” Saifiti told Knights TV.

“They’ve got a few players out like Thurston, but they’re still a great side.”

Another threat alongside Taumalolo will be Michael Morgan, a Queensland and Australia representative.

“Any team with Taumalolo and Morgan in it is going to be good,” Saifiti explained.

“They’ve still got three internationals, so any team with three internationals in it is doing pretty well.

“We’ve put a lot of emphasis on our defence, because they’ve got some big attacking weapons.”

While Saifiti has spent the last few weeks back in reserve grade, the unfortunate injury to Jamie Buhrer sees him get his opportunity to come back into first grade.

“It was a bit of a wake-up call going back into reserve grade, but I still enjoyed my footy,” Saifiti said.

“My form sort of slacked off there, and it wasn’t up to the team standard.”

Saifiti feels ready to again in the top flight, and is looking forward to testing himself against the likes of Taumalolo.

“We can’t afford to underestimate them," he said.

“It’s on their territory, their weather, and they’ll be used to that.”