Lachy MacCorquodale reviews the clash between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Gold Coast Titans; here’s how the game went.
|8th||Try Ben Hampton (North Queensland)||North Queensland 4-0|
|9th||Goal Valentine Holmes (North Queensland)||North Queensland 6-0|
|13th||Try Brian Kelly (Gold Coast)||North Queensland 6-4|
|14th||Goal Ashley Taylor (Gold Coast)||Tied 6-6|
|22nd||Try Justin O’Nell (North Queensland)||North Queensland 10-6|
|23rd||Goal Valentine Holmes (North Queensland)||North Queensland 12-6|
|26th||Mitchell Dunn – SIN BIN (North Queensland)||North Queensland 12-6|
|34th||Penalty Goal Valentine Holmes (North Queensland)||North Queensland 14-6|
|54th||Try Reece Robson (North Queensland)||North Queensland 18-6|
|55th||Goal Valentine Holmes (North Queensland)||North Queensland 20-6|
|58th||Try Reece Robson (North Queensland)||North Queensland 24-6|
|59th||Goal Valentine Holmes (North Queensland)||North Queensland 26-6|
|65th||Try Ben Hampton (North Queensland)||North Queensland 30-6|
|77th||Coen Hess SIN BIN (North Queensland)||North Queensland 30-6|
|79th||Try Kyle Feldt (North Queensland)||North Queensland 34-6|
|79th||Goal Valentine Holmes (North Queensland)||North Queensland 36-6|
The Cowboys started the 2020 season restart perfectly, with 81% of the possession in the opening 10 minutes. Ben Hampton scored – after a number of sets on the Titans’ line – when a massive overlap was exposed by Valentine Holmes. It only took five minutes for the Titans to strike back through a brilliant step from Brian Kelly that had everyone fooled; he finished off the try by beating Holmes to the tryline. The Titans started to show some promising signs until Kyle Feldt returned a kick 60 metres down the field. Only a few tackles later, Justin O’Neill cruised over the line to put the Cowboys back in front.
The Cowboys were dealt a blow with 13 minutes remaining in the opening term with Mitchell Dunn sent to the sin-bin for a professional foul. Despite the 13 v 12 advantage in the Titans’ favour, the Cowboys still managed to find holes in the Titans’ defence and would’ve extended their lead if it wasn’t for a forward pass from Holmes. A shanked goal-line dropout from Ash Taylor resulted in a penalty going the Cowboys’ way; Holmes converted the penalty goal to extend the lead to eight. With the last play of the half it looked like the Cowboys were going to extend their lead with a try until a poor pass from Esan Marsters found the touchline.
A back-and-forth opening 10 minutes gave the Titans some hope of potentially coming back, but it was diminished by Reece Robson as he burrowed over from dummy-half to extend the Cowboys’ lead to 14 points. It only took another four minutes for Robson to add to his try tally as he ran through a gaping hole right next to the posts to pour further salt into the Titans’ wounds. Errors and penalties continued to haunt the Titans throughout the night, and it eventually led to another try for the Cowboys, with Hampton scoring his second try of the night in similar fashion to his first.
In similar fashion to last night’s game, the Cowboys dominated this half and the Titans rarely saw the Cowboys’ tryline until a break from Moeaki Fotuaika resulted in Coen Hess being sent to the bin for holding him down. Jamal Fogarty looked like he had finally crossed over the line until it was pulled back for obstruction. When it looked like things couldn’t get worse, the Cowboys found another overlap, this time on the right edge of the field which saw Feldt cross for his first of the night. It was a sour ending to a sour night for the Titans.
Valentine Holmes, playing in just his third game since his return from the NFL, showed a pleasing improvement from his first two games of the season. Despite this performance coming against one of the weaker sides of the competition, he showed some great signs in relation to his ball handling which will please all of the Cowboys’ supporters. Holmes finished the night with three try assists as he set up both tries for Ben Hampton and the closing try for Kyle Feldt. In all three instances he showed either nice quick hands or crisp long balls out to his wide men, looking more comfortable in the fullback role as the season progresses. His goal-kicking was also impressive tonight as he had little trouble in converting his side’s tries from the sideline. Special mention to Reece Robson on his double (and quick dummy-half play) and the usual suspect in Jason Taumalolo, who amassed an incredible 290 runs metres after having 74 metres in the opening half.
North Queensland Cowboys: 1. Valentine Holmes 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Justin O’Neill 4. Esan Marsters 5. Ben Hampton 6. Scott Drinkwater 7. Jake Clifford 8. Josh McGuire 9. Jake Granville 10. Jordan McLean 11. Mitchell Dunn 12. Coen Hess 13. Jason Taumalolo. Interchange: 14. Reece Robson 15. John Asiata 16. Shane Wright 17. Francis Molo.
Gold Coast Titans: 5. Phillip Sami 20. Brian Kelly 3. Dale Copley 4. Tyrone Peachey 21. Jonus Pearson 6. Ashley Taylor 7. Jamal Fogarty 8. Moeaki Fotuaika 9. Nathan Peats 10. Sam Lisone 11. Kevin Proctor 12. Keegan Hipgrave 13. Jai Arrow. Interchange: 14. Erin Clark 15. Jai Whitbread 16. Jarrod Wallace 17. Shannon Boyd.