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2021 NRL Round Five, Tigers 30 Cowboys 34 – Report

Brendan Wood reviews the North Queensland Cowboys stunning 34-30 victory over the Wests Tigers at Leichhardt Oval. Here’s how the game went:

SCOREBOARD

Tigers 30

Tries: Daine Laurie (11), David Nofoaluma (53), Luciano Leilua (57), Luke Garner (59), Tommy Talau (72), Joe Ofahengaue (80)

Goals: Adam Doueihi (12, 58, 80)

Cowboys 34

Tries: Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow (4), Murray Taulagi (17, 36), Scott Drinkwater (25), Ben Condon (30), Lachlan Burr (64)

Goals: Valentine Holmes (18, 26, 31, 37, 65)

Player of the Year Points

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3 pts – Scott Drinkwater (North Queensland Cowboys)
2 pts – Reece Robson (North Queensland Cowboys)
1 pt – Adam Doueihi (Wests Tigers)

MATCH REPORT

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1st Half

It was an emotional Leichhardt Oval as the Tigers paid tribute to late Western Suburbs legend Tommy Raudonikis. However, the Cowboys played spoiler early as Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow produced some individual brilliance to stun the crowd. He burnt David Nofoaluma for pace and chipped a kick over Daine Laurie. He regathered his own kick and kept his momentum to reach out and score.

At the seven minute mark, the crowd joined in unison for a one minute standing ovation as a further show of respect to Tommy Raudonikis. Just a few minutes later, the Tigers had their first points when Kyle Feldt dropped a cross-field bomb, with Daine Laurie cleaning up the scraps and crossing the line.

Despite the Tigers grabbing the lead, the Cowboys bounced back. They were fortunate when Ben Hampton scooped up a loose ball and raced 50 metres. Off the back of Hampton’s effort, the Cowboys got their second try when Scott Drinkwater grubbered in behind the defence for Murray Taulagi.

In the following set, the Cowboys broke the Tigers line again as Ben Condon offloaded for Murray Taulagi who found space down the sideline. He chipped a kick over Daine Laurie but Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow knocked-on as he tried to regather. However, the Tigers gifted the Cowboys good field position again when they threw a forward pass.

It was another piece of individual brilliance from Scott Drinkwater when he put on a chip and chase for himself and beat everyone over the line to score. The points kept coming for the visitors, as Ben Condon crashed over from close range not long after to extend the lead.

Given another opportunity by an error from the Tigers, Scott Drinkwater put up an attacking kick and Murray Taualgi leapt above the pack to grab the ball and score his second try. The crowd booed as the Tigers left the field, trailing the Cowboys by 22 points at the break.

HALF-TIME: Wests Tigers 6 North Queensland Cowboys 28

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2nd Half

The first 10 minutes after halftime were more of the same, with the Tigers still unable to hold onto possession. However, the Cowboys were unable to extend their lead despite some early opportunities.

Eventually the Tigers came to life when Adam Doueihi floated a pass to David Nofoaluma who crossed in the corner. The following passage of play was all one-way traffic in the Tigers favour.

Luke Brooks grubbered into the in-goal and Luciano Leilua juggled the ball but maintained possession to score. Just a few minutes later, the comeback was underway when Adam Doueihi threw a short ball to put Luke Garner through a gap and over the line. Following the Garner try, the home side rolled down the field and looked to have scored again through David Nofoaluma, however the bunker overturned the try due to an obstruction by James Roberts.

Demoralised by the no-try decision, the Tigers lost composure when the Cowboys were able to produce more points in response. Scott Drinkwater recovered his own kick after a favourable bounce. He passed to Ben Hampton who offloaded to Lachlan Burr to score.

Inside the final 10 minutes, the Cowboys looked to be comfortably holding onto a 14-point lead. However, the Tigers still had some fight left. They made a break down the left edge through Luciano Leilua, who offloaded for Tommy Talau to score. With one minute remaining, the Tigers found a last gasp try through Joe Ofahengaue to cut the lead back to just four points.

With a grandstand finish on the cards, Luke Brooks made a meal of the kickoff to turn the final moments into an anti-climax. The Cowboys held on to record their first win of the season, much to the dismay of the Leichhardt Oval crowd.

FULL-TIME: Wests Tigers 30 North Queensland Cowboys 34

Injuries

Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow – ankle

Joey Leilua – concussion

Match Review Committee

To be advised

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