Recent Cowboys import Chad Townsend has claimed that despite external reports, the club's captain, Jason Taumalolo, and coach, Todd Payten, are not at each other's throats.
Innuendo surrounding the supposedly frosty relationship between the Cowboy's multi-million dollar forward and Payten - the new sheriff in Townsville - commenced in Round 1 of last year after the then first-year head coach called into question his star's defensive efforts.
Across the course of what proved to be a drastically underwhelming season for the side from the Far North, Taumalolo's minutes and output plummeted, with the external noise surrounding the 28-year-old's form and fitness simultaneously skyrocketing.
And while both punters and pundits have suggested that the Tongan international's dips were due in large part to his relationship with Payten, Townsend claimed this couldn't be further from the truth.
“It’s an odd one to be honest,” Townsend said on SEN 1170 radio waves.
“Obviously, there’s so much external noise with the situation but both the guys are fine.
“We had our leadership meeting early in the week, both Jason and Todd are in there for a period of time.
“They both speak normally with each other, they have open dialogue and open conversation."
The ex-Shark and Warrior went on to state that across his brief stint at Queensland Country Bank Stadium, he had not borne witness to rifts between the club's pillars.
“If it’s there, I don’t see it, I don’t understand where all the noise comes from," Townsend continued.
“The guys have a good relationship, they get along really well, I think it’s just Jason and the stature he has in our game – he’s our most experienced player.”
After running for 136 metres during the Cowboys' heartbreaking Round 1 loss to the Dogs, Taumalolo backed up his punishing start to his 13th first-grade campaign with 161 metres against the Raiders in Round 2.
While the Auckland-born bruiser enters the season's third week averaging 52 minutes of game time, Townsend held out hope that former Kiwi was creeping back towards his Dally M best.
“If Jason continues to play the way he played on the weekend, he’ll do great,” the playmaker said in finality.
Taumalolo, Townsend and Payten will next put their work on the training track into practice on Sunday when the Cowboys come up against the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium.