Wests Tigers captain James Tamou knows better than most what a fortress Leichhardt Oval can be when the ground is packed to the rafters on a sunny afternoon in rugby league heartland.
Tamou was part of four games for four losses when he donned the Cowboys jersey against his new club across eight seasons at the suburban venue.
On Sunday, he'll lead the joint venture on to the sacred turf searching for his first win at the ground in what is set to be an emotional day following the passing of rugby league icon Tommy Raudonikis on Wednesday.
"A very tough place to play if you're an opponent, definitely," Tamou told NRL.com.
"The crowd is right on top of you and it feels like there's 50,000 watching. We used to dread it at the Cows because you knew you were in for a tough one.
"It didn't matter who the Tigers had in their team or who we had in our team, they came out firing."
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While it's been five years since Tamou departed North Queensland, nothing has changed for the Cowboys with the struggling club losing their past nine games at Leichhardt Oval.
It's a dominant record that stretches back to 2001 and a dominance the Wests Tigers want to keep over their counterparts.
However, the possible return of Jason Taumalolo, to go with the Cowboys' 0-4 start, has Tamou wary ahead of facing his former club.
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"I hate these games against teams that are in a so-called hole. When their backs are against the wall, you don't know what they're capable of and they're very unpredictable," Tamou said.
"When you go up against the Storm, you know what to expect; you know what to prepare for.
"But a team like this with their backs against the wall and nothing to lose, they just play unpredictable football and sometimes that's the hardest football to play against."
The Tigers showed promise in last week's loss to the Eels with the 36-22 scoreline not a true reflection of how close the side got to causing an upset.
"I said after the game to the boys, comparing the game to the week before against Newcastle we weren't at our best in both games," Tamou said.
"The positive out of the Eels game was we were there with five minutes to go but mentally we weren't quite there with a couple of errors.
"The game could've been different but we've just got to keep our chins up and have a positive outlook.
"There were a couple of drop balls in key moments and we can learn a lesson in that.
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"We need to start better. The narrative there is we're not playing 80 minutes. We were looking like we were only dipping our toes and just testing it instead of starting fast."
Tamou has been unusually quiet statistically since making the switch to Concord but said he was confident of finding his feet soon.
"Alex [Twal], Zane [Musgrove] and myself can be better there and it's up to us to change that," the 32-year-old said.
"You're not a leader if you haven't got followers. The boys want to listen and learn so that makes it easier."
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