North Queensland Cowboys Try Scorers: Linnett 3, Sims, Thurston, Wright, Tate
Goals: Thurston 7/9
Sydney Roosters Try Scorers: Minichiello, Mortimer
Goals: Maloney 1/2
Kane Linnett grabbed a hat-trick as the North Queensland Cowboys produced a flawless display to heap more misery onto Sydney Roosters in a 42-10 hammering at 1300SMILES Stadium on Saturday night.
Jonathan Thurston was his usual self with a great performance as the Cowboys were excellent throughout, frustrating the Roosters with great defence and a fantastic completion rate.
There was bad news for New South Wales as Boyd Cordner left the field injured and James Maloney had a forgetful game, giving Laurie Daley a headache in the halves with game one fast approaching.
Kane Linnett scored the game’s opening try as the home side took the lead when Anthony Minichiello couldn’t defuse a high bomb and the ball fell to the Cowboys. The tackle count was restarted but they only needed the one play as they scrambled it out wide to Linnett.
Jared Waerea-Hargreaves gave away a penalty from 20 metres out from a late hit on Robert Lui and Thurston made no mistake in making it 6-0.
Minichiello made another error and this time it was Tariq Sims who benefited and he dove over the try-line to shock the reigning premiers early on.
Jonathan Thurston produced a brilliant step to leave his opposite number Sonny-Bill Williams in his wake, before finding Linnett out wide who had all the space in the world to walk in for his second.
Minichiello made up for his earlier errors by starting a 100 metre set when he broke free from fullback and took an Aidan Gueraa cut-out pass to score out wide, the Roosters’ first try of the night. Maloney converted from the touchline to put them back in the game at 18-6.
Minichiello was denied a second when another kick was allowed to bounce, this time by the Cowboys, and Jennings collected to find Minichiello in support but the video refereee ruled a knock on had occurred in the lead up.
The Roosters had the momentum in their favour but Thurston extended the Cowboys lead to 14 points when Jake Friend gave away a penalty from close range.
The Cowboys were dominating the first half and Jonathan Thurston continued the dominance when he scored in the corner after Tate picked up a grubber and managed to release the ball backwards to Thurston.
North Queensland scored again in the last minute of the half after they were awarded a scrum from close range and a scramble out wide resulted in Tate assisting another try as he flicked the ball over his head for Matthew Wright to score in the corner. Thurston finished the half with a brilliant kick from the touchline and the Cowboys led 30-6.
Any suggestion that there would be a laboured start to the second half were dismissed from the first kick off as the Roosters let the kick bounce yet again and the Cowboys gained possession before forcing back-to-back drop outs.
Tuivasa-Sheck came up with a hit on Linnett which forced an error and seemed to relieve the pressure as the Roosters winger raced into the Cowboys half, however play was pulled back as the tackle was judged to be high by the video referee.
The game was all but won when the Cowboys went from their own try line to the oppositions’ and it was Brent Tate who scored a deserved try to hammer the nail into the Roosters’ coffin. Thurston stepped his way through and found support as they set up on the Roosters line and Tate scored to the right of the sticks.
Kane Linnett piled on the misery with ten minutes to go when he stormed his way over from close range to grab his hat-trick after Maloney, came up with a forward pass inside his own ten metre zone.
Tuivasa-Sheck came up with a rare highlight for the Roosters as he stepped opposite winger before grubbering through for Daniel Mortimer to score the last try of the game as the Roosters were defeated 42-10.