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2021 NRL Round Eight, Warriors 24 Cowboys 20 – Report

Brad Inger reviews the Warriors vs Cowboys clash ….. Here’s how the game went.

SCOREBOARD

Warriors 24

Tries: Kodi Nikorima (6), Rocco Berry (13), Ben Murdoch-Masila (18), Adam Pompey (38)

Goals: Kodi Nikorima (7, 16, 19, 40)

Cowboys 20

Tries: Reece Robson (32), Murray Taulagi (46, 65), Scott Drinkwater (49)

Goals: Valentine Holmes (47, 49)

Player of the Year Points

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3 pts – Kodi Nikorima ( Warriors )
2 pts – Scott Drinkwater ( Cowboys )
1 pt – Ben Murdoch-Masila ( Warriors )

MATCH REPORT

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1st Half

The Warriors started the match quick off the mark with a great run by rampaging second-rower Ben Murdoch-Masila on the wing, which put the New Zealand side deep in the cowboy’s red-zone and looked to have scored moments later when Josh Curran crashed over; however, he lost possession over the line letting the Cowboys off the hook. The Warriors weren’t to be denied for much longer as on their next set Kodi Nikorima spied a hole in North Queensland’s defence and ran 30 metres for the first try of the afternoon. Minutes later, Nikorima was involved again, sending skipper Roger Tuivasa-Sheck through a gap before he handed it off to Rocco Berry for his first NRL try. The one-way traffic continued with Nikorima running on the last before attempting to put Reece Walsh into a scoring position; some scrambling Cowboys defence prevented that but not before Walsh offloaded to Murdoch-Masila for the Warriors third try of the first half. North Queensland started to get themselves into the match, stopping the Warriors onslaught with some improved defence but were struggling to get themselves into the Warriors half, until a repeat set finally gave them a full set inside the New Zealand sides half, and they took the opportunity with both hands as Hooker Reece Robson sold the mother of all dummies to cross over untouched to score the visiting sides first points of the day. Both sides traded sets looking set to go into the sheds with the current scoreline until a cowboys error handed the Warriors one more chance, and that was all they needed as Walsh put Curran into space before the young second-rower flicked it to Adam Pompey for the final try of the first half with the Warriors holding a comprehensive 24-4 lead.

HALF-TIME: New Zealand Warriors 24 North Queensland Cowboys 4

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2nd Half

An error from the Warriors was just what the Cowboys needed to start the second half, and they surged up the field, earning another set after Ken Maumalo knocked on a grubber kick. North Queensland tested rookie winger Edward Kosi with another grubber which saw Murray Taulagi beat his man to the ball to reduce the Warriors lead to 14. The Cowboys were at it again on the very next set sending the ball to the left-hand side with Taulagi cruising down the sideline before sending Scott Drinkwater over to score. The Warriors appeared to have scored a fantastic try when Walsh ran on the last tackle, but the Bunker denied them, advising that the ball hit Curran’s shoulder and travelled forward. Both sides struggled to get the upper hand, with both sides letting themselves down with errors and poor discipline. A Tohu Harris offload to Walsh saw the exciting youngster burst into open space before he slipped over and then knocked the ball on after Holmes cleaned him up. North Queensland’s next set saw they surge up the field before the game was halted when Murdoch-Masila came off second best in a collision with Jason Taumalolo; once the game resumed, the Cowboys targeted the Warriors inexperienced edge with Taulagi crossing over again in the corner to reduce the New Zealand sides lead to four. Momentum was heavily in the Cowboys favour as they made easy work of marching up the field and looked to be ready to score again before knocking the ball on but were given a penalty after Pompey was offside. North Queensland failed to capitalize on the field position, throwing a forward pass that let the Warriors off the hook. The New Zealand side let themselves down again when Bayley Sironen lost control of the ball when attempting to play it, but the Cowboys also made the same error a few tackles later. The New Zealand side was given a penalty that gave them their first set inside North Queensland’s half for roughly 15 minutes, but Curran fumbled his attempt to pick up a Walsh grubber. Time was running out for the Cowboys, and they made a last-ditch attempt to score points, but their hopes were dashed when Maumalo scooped up the ball and ran for 30 metres to end the match with the Warriors grimly holding on for a much-needed victory.

FULL-TIME: New Zealand Warriors 24 North Queensland Cowboys 20

Injuries

Ben Hampton (Cowboys) – pec
Ben Murdoch-Masila (Warriors) – failed HIA

Match Review Committee

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