The North Queensland Cowboys have ended Penrith Panthers four game unbeaten run thanks to Ethan Lowe’s sideline conversion in the final minutes, winning 14-12.
COWBOYS LED BY ORIGIN STARS
North Queensland’s trio backing up from State of Origin were instrumental in the Cowboys fifth home win of the season. Gavin Cooper played all eighty minutes in his 250th game and was their top tackler with 39. Coen Hess made a game high 231 metres from 25 carries in just 53 minutes on the field. But it was Michael Morgan’s impact on the game towards the back end which got the Cowboys home. He had a hand in both tries with the match winner a pin-point kick to Kyle Feldt. Heroic efforts with just under 72 hours backing up from Origin.
PENRITH’S DEFENCE SUPERB
The Panthers will be bitterly disappointed not to come away with the two points from 1300 Smiles Stadium with a Cowboys side missing Johnathan Thurston. For a great part of the second half the home side were camped in the Panthers half but couldn’t find a way to penetrate the defence. Kudos to Corey Harawira-Naera, Tyrone Peachey, Tim Brown and hooker Mitch Rein on holding out the Cowboys for long periods. This team has transformed a lot since that first half against New Zealand Warriors in round 10. They are still in the box seat to make the bottom half of the eight based on efforts over the past two months.
TAUMALOLO MACHINE CONTINUES
A key to the Panthers success today was to contain the ‘other JT’, Jason Taumalolo. In some respects they did manage to contain his impact on the game. Even at one stage a cheeky call from Matt Moylan presented an off-load intercept opportunity. Once again Taumalolo was one of the Cowboys best with 216 metres from 23 hit-up’s and 30 tackles. Off the back of his effort Coen Hess was able to charge at the Panthers defensive line. He didn’t win the game for the Cowboys but JT did the little things right to get his side the two points.
WHERE WAS JAMES TAMOU?
It was a disappointing return to 1300 Smiles Stadium for James Tamou. Tamou was signed on as a marquee-type player on a reported $3million deal over four years. During Representative Week in early May he showed signs of being a good signing after a slow start at the Panthers. Today in a game where Penrith needed that experience to get over the line, Tamou’s output was low. 24 tackles and 102 metres from 8 hit-ups. Maybe the move down south has been a difficult transition and we’ll see his best football at the club in 2018 and beyond.
North Queensland Cowboys 14
Tries: Corey Jensen, Kyle Feldt
Goals: Ethan Lowe 3
Penrith Panthers 12
Tries: Corey Harawira-Naera, Nathan Cleary
Goals: Nathan Cleary 2