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NRL match review: North Queensland Cowboys 18 St George Illawarra Dragons 12

Scoreboard

North Queensland Cowboys 18
Tries: K Linnet 2, J Granville 1
Goals: E Lowe 3/4
Field Goals:

St George Illawarra Dragons 12
Tries: E Aitken 1, M Ioane 1
Goals: G Widdop 2/2
Field Goals:

Match Review

The North Queensland Cowboys have shown that they can win without their plethora of origin star’s, as they defeated the Dragons 18-12 on Saturday night to claim their seventh consecutive away victory.

Despite being without the games best player Jonathan Thurston, and fellow Origin stars Michael Morgan, Matt Scott and Jason Tamou, the Cowboys were too strong for a Dragons outfit who were only missing Josh Dugan and Trent Merrin.

After the Cowboys failed to keep their 11-game winning streak alive last week against the Sharks due to the absence of skipper Thurston, there were fears that the Cowboys would once again struggle to win without JT, especially as they were also missing a handful of their best players.

However, the North Queensland side turned up to WIN Stadium clearly determined to win, and on the back of an excellent 36 from 39 sets completed, they did just that.

The Dragons were valiant in defeat, and also managed an impressive completion rate of 34/37, however they lacked the finishing touch to overcome the Cowboys. The Dragons had numerous opportunities to level the game in the final stages of the game, however they lacked the urgency to cross the line.

With only minutes remaining in the match and a converted try needed to level the score, the Dragons were bizarrely wasting time with slow forward hit ups and one off runs, when they should have been chancing their arm in an attempt to score.

The Cowboys started the match with intensity, and Kane Linnet scored after only two minutes. He would cross again later in the match, in a strong performance from the centre who racked up a game high 276 metres.

Euan Aitken scored in the 28th minute to level up the score, before Linnet bagged his double eight minutes later to reclaim the lead for the Cowboys as they headed into the half-time break.

Crafty hooker Jake Granville continued his brilliant season when he crossed from dummy half in the 51st minute to increase North Queensland’s lead to 18-6.

Victory looked a slim chance for the Dragons, until mid-season recruit Mark Ioane scored in the 61st minute in his first match for the Red V. The New Zealand front-rower had transferred to St George last week from the Gold Coast Titans, and his impact for the Dragons was immediate. Ioane showed incredible speed and footwork for a front-rower, as he sprinted and stepped around defenders to dive over in the corner, and put the Dragons right back into the contest.

However, some desperate defence from the Cowboys ensured that they would claim victory, and as a result they claimed their 12th win to maintain their position in the top 2.

After losing a game that they should have won comfortably, the Dragons are continuing to look in danger of slipping down the ladder, as their loss to the Cowboys was their 4th in a row.

 

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