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NRL match review: North Queensland Cowboys 4 Sydney Roosters 28

Scoreboard

Sydney Roosters 28

Tries: Boyd Cordner 2, Daniel Tupou, Michael Jennings, Aidan Guerra
Goals: James Maloney 4/5

North Queensland Cowboys 4

Tries: Justin O’Neill

Match Review

The Roosters began the match on the forefront, threatening the Cowboys’ defensive structure all throughout the first ten minutes. Expectations where met at the end of this time frame when Origin winger Daniel Tupou gave the Roosters their first points with an explosive try. Off a Michael Jennings assist, Tupou used his speed to bolt towards the corner post leaving the Cowboys behind. James Maloney made what would be his only failed conversion of the game, but it wouldn’t matter as the Roosters had gained a momentum.

Jason Taumalolo’s bulking figure presured the Roosters’ defensive structure as the tides soon turned, and the Cowboys had found an offensive flow. Just minutes later, the referee ruled video referee for a possible Cowboys try, following a pileup of players in the in-goal. The concern was to whether Gavin Cooper had grounded the ball successfully, however in the end the ruling was no try due to a Shaun Kenny-Dowall knock on.

Following his assist in the earlier try, Michael Jennings finally put his name on the scoreboard, collecting a Mitchell Pearce grubber kick from within the Cowboys’ in-goal. James Maloney made his first successful conversion of the night from right in front, and the Roosters had extended their lead to 10-0 in the 22nd minute.

It only got worse from there for the home side. Just four minutes later it was Mitchell Pearce who again provided a grubber kick, so this time Aidan Guerra could score. It was a classy effort from the Queensland forward who juggled the ball into his possession, after a ricochet off a Cowboys defender. James Maloney converted and increased the scoreline to 16-0 in the 26th minute.

It could’ve become a mauling when just a minute later the referee chose to go upstairs for a possible Roosters try. But it was Roosters debutant Blake Ferguson who caused the no try ruling, after replays showed he obstructed Johnathan Thurston prior to the away side scoring.

After previously grounding the ball over the try-line, to only find out an obstruction was committed, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck bolted through the Cowboys’ defensive line and offloaded the ball to Boyd Cordner to increase the lead. James Maloney boosted his kicking rate to 75% and at 37 minutes in, the 22-0 score line could be deemed a thrashing.

However, the major talking point of the game came after the first half performance. It was the Roosters’ defensive structure that was all the talk as the Cowboys threatened throughout the first 20 minutes of the new half. The North Queensland side must have taken Paul Green’s words seriously at half time, with Michael Morgan coming especially close to scoring in the 43rd minute, but landing awkwardly in the in-goal meant there was an issue with the ball’s grounding.

Daniel Tupou injured himself inside the in-goal, but play resumed just a few minutes later. However Roger Tuivasa-Sheck fumbled the ball straight after the referee called play-on, and Matthew Scott claimed an immediate try. However the ruling from upstairs was a no try because of an issue with the Cowboys co-captain’s grounding. The scores remained 22-0 and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck had gotten very lucky.

Boyd Cordner scored his second try of the night after James Maloney broke through the line of defence in the 63rd minute, and passed the ball to the Roosters second-row while approaching the try-line. Following another successful conversion from James Maloney, the game looked set at 28-0.

The cowboys returned to threatening the Roosters’ defensive structure, but the side from Sydney’s east held strong. In the 69th minute, the Townsville crowd roared with some relief after the referee awarded Justin O’Neill a try. The Cowboys debutant had burst towards the corner post after finding some space in the upper-field. With captain Johnathan Thurston to take the conversion from the sideline, it looked doubtful and didn’t make the distance as the game finished 28-4.

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