Nathan Smith reviews the round seven clash between the North Queensland Cowboys and Newcastle Knights. Here’s how the game went.
|8th||Try Justin O’Neil (Cowboys)||Cowboys 4-0|
|9th||Goal Kyle Feldt (Cowboys)||Cowboys 6-0|
|15th||Penalty Goal Kyle Feldt (Cowboys)||Cowboys 8-0|
|19th||Try Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow (Cowboys)||Cowboys 12-0|
|20th||Goal Kyle Feldt (Cowboys)||Cowboys 14-0|
|23rd||Try Jake Clifford (Cowboys)||Cowboys 18-0|
|25th||Goal Kyle Feldt (Cowboys)||Cowboys 20-0|
|38th||Try Kyle Feldt (Cowboys)||Cowboys 24-0|
|39th||Goal Kyle Feldt (Cowboys)||Cowboys 26-0|
|41st||Try Tex Hoy (Knights)||Cowboys 26-4|
|42nd||Goal Kalyn Ponga (Knights)||Cowboys 26-6|
|44th||Try Coen Hess (Cowboys)||Cowboys 30-6|
|46th||Goal Kyle Feldt (Cowboys)||Cowboys 32-6|
|52nd||Try Hymel Hunt (Knights)||Cowboys 32-10|
|57th||Try Kurt Mann (Knights)||Cowboys 32-14|
|59th||Goal Kalyn Ponga (Knights)||Cowboys 32-16|
|74th||Try Gehamat Shibasaki (Knights)||Cowboys 32-20|
The first half was a long-awaited return to form for the Cowboys, who scored points at will. Newcastle’s defence looked particularly flimsy, with Reece Robson bursting through from dummy-half to set up a try, and Jake Clifford brushing off tackles to score another. By the end of the first half, a huge upset was on the cards, with the Cowboys heading to the sheds leading 26-0.
Newcastle started the second half fast, keen to make up for their poor first half. A linebreak to Lachlan Fitzgibbon from a scrum by their own line enabled him to pass to Tex Hoy and send him through for Newcastle’s first try of the game. Their sniff of a comeback was short-lived though, with Coen Hess crossing minutes later after receiving a freak offload from Tom Opacic. Newcastle were able to brush off this setback and finally work their combinations, with Mitchell Pearce and Kalyn Ponga linking to put Hymel Hunt in for a try. They followed it up with another try to Kurt Mann in the 57th minute to really make a game of it. Newcastle would leave their next try far too late, scoring it in the 75th minute, which meant the Cowboys would get their third win of the year.
The freak offload thrown by Tom Opacic in the 46th minute rates up there as one of the best of the year, and there’s been plenty of good ones. The context adds to the beauty of it, given Newcastle had scored a quick try to start the second half off. After the Cowboys pressured Pearce’s end-of-set kick to gain possession in the Newcastle half, they pushed it towards the edge, where Opacic attracted defenders, then flicked it for Coen Hess to collect and score. Not only did the try look good, but it was a timely one that shut down Newcastle’s momentum at that time.
North Queensland Cowboys: 1. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Justin O’Neill 4. Esan Marsters 18. Tom Opacic 6. Scott Drinkwater 7. Jake Clifford 8. Josh McGuire 9. Reece Robson 20. Jordan McLean 19. Shane Wright 12. Coen Hess 13. Jason Taumalolo (c). Interchange: 10. Francis Molo 14. Ben Hampton 15. Gavin Cooper 16. Peter Hola.
Newcastle Knights: 1. Kalyn Ponga 2. Edrick Lee 3. Enari Tuala 4. Gehamat Shibasaki 5. Hymel Hunt 6. Kurt Mann 7. Mitchell Pearce (c) 8. David Klemmer 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Daniel Saifiti 11. Lachlan Fitzgibbon 12. Sione Mata’utai 13. Tim Glasby. Interchange: 14. Tex Hoy 15. Jacob Saifiti 16. Herman Ese’ese 17. Aidan Guerra.