North Queensland Cowboys 28
Tries: Granville 3, Linnett, Coote
Goals: Thurston 4/5
New Zealand Warriors 24
Tries: Hurrell, Wright, Kata, Vatuvei
Goals: Johnson 4/5
A JAKE Granville hat-trick helped North Queensland Cowboys to snatch a late 28-24 victory over New Zealand Warriors, with the hooker grabbing the match winner two minutes from time.
Shaun Johnson’s 64th minute penalty goal gave the Warriors a 24-16 lead, however match winner Granville crossed for two tries in the last 10 minutes to make it four wins in a row for the Cowboys.
Five minutes into the contest the visitors took the lead, as a mistake from Jonathan Thurston led to Konrad Hurrell racing over for the opening try.
They then extended their lead to 12-0 three minutes later, as Johnson showed great footwork to expose the Cowboys’ left edge and put Jonathan Wright in for a try.
It took 22 minutes for the hosts to get on the scoreboard and Thurston was the architect, as he picked a hole in the New Zealand defence to put Lachlan Coote through and Granville was on hand to support and grab his first of the afternoon.
Coote was struggling under the high ball as Johnson’s kicking game was on point, however the fullback’s fast hands put Kane Linnett through for a try on the half hour mark as they got within two points.
The momentum was in the Cowboys’ favour until their opponents struck three minutes from the half-time hooter, with Solomone Kata strolling over for an easy try to make the half-time score read 16-0 to the Warriors at the break.
They extended that lead nine minutes into the second period, as Manu Vatuvei came storming onto a drop off from Thomas Leuluai to cross for his 141st NRL try to become the top try scoring Kiwi in the competition’s history.
Thurston’s boot put his side back into the contest though as his high bomb troubled Tuimoala Lolohea, with the fullback spilling the ball in his own in-goal area to hand Coote a simple score on the 53rd minute.
With the deficit just six points Johnson knocked over a penalty goal to make it 24-16 with 16 minutes left, leaving the hosts with the task of finding two tries to win it.
Granville got his second when he darted over for a 70th minute try as he showed great strength to force the ball down, and Thurston’s conversion set up a grand stand finish.
The hooker scooted over for his hat-trick with just two minutes of the contest left, as he ducked under a tackle to touch down for the match winner and send the 1300Smiles Stadium into celebration mode.
Thurston knocked over the kick to make the final score 28-24 as North Queensland Cowboys picked up a fourth straight win to continue their climb up the ladder.
NothingButRL Man of the Match: Jake Granville is proving himself as one of the best buys of the season for North Queensland Cowboys as the hooker snatched the win late on to complete a hat-trick and continue his fine run of form.