Cormac Pearson reviews a controversial game, with the Tigers edging out the Cowboys in a Golden Point thriller.
With two important premiership points up for grabs, the Tigers travelled up north to take on the Cowboys at home. In front of 11,692 fans the Tigers bolted out the blocks, scoring two tries in the first ten minutes. Michael Chee-Kam was the first to go over, scoring in the fourth minute through a Corey Thompson line-break. Ryan Matterson was next to score, this time in controversial circumstances as the try was given without going to the Bunker. The replay showed a slight Tigers knock on in the contest but the try was given. In the 26th minute it was David Nofoaluma’s turn as he ran right through some soft defence close to the line to extend the lead to 18-0.
A poor start from the Cowboys was turned around with a Michael Morgan grubber on the first tackle, which Kyle Feldt swooped up to score their first. A penalty goal extended the Tigers’ lead to 20-6 at halftime. A Paul Green halftime speech must have got to the Cowboys as they came out a different side. Three consecutive tries through Morgan, Javid Bowen and Kyle Feldt gave the Cowboys a four-point lead with 12 minutes left.
Down 24-20 the Tigers looked shot, but a break by Jacob Liddle gave them hope as they marched onto the Cowboys’ line. Then Michael Chee-Kam was hit with a short ball and seemed to have lost the ball over the line. A no-try call was sent to the Bunker with the possibility of a penalty for a high tackle if it was a no try. Instead the Bunker controversially ruled a penalty try and gave the Tigers a two-point lead with that many minutes left. However, the Cowboys weren’t done as a penalty for obstruction gave them good field position, and a strong Jason Taumalolo run awarded them a penalty.
Time for Golden Point. The Cowboys kicked off and a well-placed kick and a fumble meant the Cowboys would give possession straight back through a dropout. On his third attempt, Benji Marshall kicked a wobbly field goal to seal a gutsy away win for the Tigers.
TIGERS BACK ON THEIR FEET
Some say to always be wary when playing a team held to nil the week before. That was exactly the case as the Tigers came out of sheds with a point to prove, catching the Cowboys off-guard with three early tries. They did just enough in the second half to hold off the Cowboys in a win that coach Michael McGuire would be very happy with.
PAUL GREEN PRESSER
Cowboys coach Paul Green had some issues with the refereeing and made that known in his post-game press conference. The second Tigers try and the penalty try were bad decisions in Green’s eyes as he said his players “deserve an explanation” for the calls that cost them the game. While admitting they shouldn’t have been in that situation, the Cowboys have had crucial calls go against them for two consecutive weeks.
Benji Marshall is a player Cowboys fans must hate to come up against, with memories still lingering of the 2005 flick pass, all the way up to last night. Marshall pulled out a strong performance and kicked the game-sealing field goal to push the Tigers temporarily into the top eight.
ADD ANOTHER ONE TO THE LIST
The Cowboys will be forced into more changes after key forward Coen Hess was injured in the 48th minute last night. The former Origin player limped off with a suspected knee ligament injury on his right leg. The extent of the injury will be outlined over the coming days. This adds to the already large list of injured players, including Matt Scott, Jordan McLean and Justin O’Neill.
North Queensland Cowboys 26
Tries: Kyle Feldt (2), Michael Morgan, Javid Bowen
Goals: Jake Clifford 5/6
Wests Tigers 27
Tries: Michael Chee-Kam (2 – including Penalty Try), Ryan Matterson, David Nofoaluma
Goals: Esan Marsters 5/5
Drop Goals: Benji Marshall
North Queensland Cowboys: 19. Jordan Kahu 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Enari Tuala 4. Tom Opacic 5. Javid Bowen 1. Michael Morgan 7. Jake Clifford 8. Josh McGuire 9. Jake Granville 10. Scott Bolton 11. Gavin Cooper 12. Coen Hess 13. Jason Taumalolo. Interchange: 6. John Asiata 14. Kurt Baptiste 15. Shane Wright 17. Francis Molo.
Wests Tigers: 1. Corey Thompson 2. Robert Jennings 3. Moses Mbye 4. Esan Marsters 5. David Nofoaluma 6. Benji Marshall 7. Luke Brooks 8. Ben Matulino 9. Robbie Farah 10. Alex Twal 11. Ryan Matterson 12. Michael Chee-Kam 13. Matt Eisenhuth. Interchange: 14. Jacob Liddle 15. Thomas Mikaele 16. Josh Aloiai 17. Chris Lawrence.