Titans winger Corey Thompson is backing his vertical leap and attack on the ball to deal with the weekly threat of aerial attacks from taller rivals.
The 178cm Thompson successfully negated the 194cm Xavier Coates in last week’s win over Brisbane but knows he is going to be continually targeted by opposition playmakers looking to exploit his height disadvantage.
"I like to think I’ve got a pretty good vertical leap seeing as those the other wingers are pretty tall," Thompson told NRL.com
"I just try to jump as high as I can and compete and make it as hard as possible for them to catch the ball cleanly.
"I’m not too fussed on the cross-field kicks. I know it’s going to come during the game and when it comes I will just jump up as high as I can and make it a messy contest."
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The NRL’s new rules which forbid defenders tackling the attacker in mid-air has made a winger’s job harder, but Thompson knows how to get a result.
He remembers watching Bulldogs point-scoring great Hazen El Masri navigate the aerial minefield with his fist during his illustrious career, but punching the ball over the dead-ball line is not part of his own bag of tricks when dealing with bombs.
"I try to jump up and catch it. It’s pretty dangerous to try and hit it while it’s in the air," he said.
"Especially now with the new rules you can’t wrap them up when they jump so you’ve sort of got to jump up and contest it and make it hard for them and do your best."
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Thompson is relieved he won’t be marking one of the game’s most talented and freakish try scorers in Kyle Feldt this week, with the Cowboys winger suspended and replaced by 22-year-old Murray Taulagi.
Taulagi (189cm) still boasts a significant height advantage over Thompson, but the Titan is confident his side can carry the momentum from last week into Sunday’s clash with North Queensland in Townsville.
"I always try to prepare like they’re the best winger in the world and I have to try [to] stop them," Thompson said.
"They’ve [the Cowboys] got such quality players and it’s always dangerous preparing for a team that the media and people on the outside say are struggling.
“To get the win in round two against the Broncos was a great way to come back after a loss but it obviously means nothing if we go out with a poor performance this week against the Cowboys."