Brad Inger reviews the Round 23 clash between the Cowboys and the Warriors at Queensland Country Bank Stadium; here’s how the match went.
North Queensland Cowboys 48
Tries: Coen Hess (6), Murray Taulagi (9), Jeremiah Nanai (37), Peta Hiku (39), Tom Dearden (41, 61), Luciano Leilua (47), Chad Townsend (68)
Goals: Valentine Holmes 8/9 (7, 20, 38, 40, 42, 48, 62, 69)
MATCH REPORTEmbed from Getty Images
A moment’s silence for former Cowboys coach Paul Green got the evening underway. North Queensland started the match strong, scoring two tries in the first ten minutes, with Coen Hess crashing over Reece Walsh in the middle and Murray Taulagi also electing to run over Walsh this time in the left corner.
The Warriors received a penalty for a cannonball tackle which saw Jeremiah Nanai placed on report; however, the New Zealand side could not find a way through the tough Cowboys defence. A penalty against Jack Murchie for exiting the scrum early saw the home side extend their lead to twelve when Valentine Holmes kicked a penalty.
After some back and forth, the Warrior’s attack started to make some dents with Marcelo Montoya latching onto a Shaun Johnson bomb on the last tackle, getting over the line, but the Cowboys scrambled and held him up, North Queensland then screamed up the field and looked to have scored their third try, but the bunker deemed that the ball was tapped forward, so the score stayed 12-0.
On the back of a six again drive, the Warriors finally got themselves on the scoreboard in the 35th minute when Ed Kosi tapped back a Daejarn Asi kick that Scott Drinkwater knocked on before Montoya dived on it; the bunker reviewed the try as it looked that Montoya was in front of the kicker but ruled that it was ok.
The Cowboys were not done scoring yet in the first half, taking advantage of a Walsh knock-on and sending Nanai over for his 17th try of the season before running the length of the field on the next play to see Peta Hiku score against his former club, to see the home side go into the sheds leading 24-4.
The Cowboys started the second half in the same manner they ended the first, scoring in the first minute when Tom Dearden spied a hole in the Warrior’s defensive line after Walsh dropped another kick. North Queensland kept the pressure on, crossing for their sixth try moments later when Luciano Leilua made a mockery of the Warrior’s goal-line defence as he barged his way over.
After a lengthy stalemate, the Cowboys were over again after spotting Walsh out of position and pushing a kick through; it looked like the Warriors had saved it, but Dallin Watene-Zeleaniak decided to leave the ball to roll over the dead-ball line, but Dearden snuck in and dived on it for his second try of the night and his first career double. A few sets later, Walsh was out of position again, and Chad Townsend pounced, putting a grubber through before scooping it up and scoring. The Cowboys looked set to score on the next set after Hess broke the line and put a kick in for Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow, but the lightning-fast back took too long to place the ball down and was dragged over the sideline by Walsh.
The Warriors showed a slight glimpse of being dangerous with the ball in hand after Bunty Afoa broke the line; the Cowboys gave away a penalty but refused to let the Warriors get over the line with Hiku forcing an error from Kosi as he tried to crash over in the corner. The visitors got more sets in good field position after a Cowboys error and several six again calls, and Euan Aitken looked to have scored his 50th try; however, for the second week in a row, the bunker took it away after he was ruled to have made a double movement in was the last critical moment in the match as the Cowboys get their biggest win of the season with the Warriors conceding 48 points for the second time in three weeks.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR POINTSEmbed from Getty Images
3 pts – Tom Dearden (Cowboys), 2 pts – Chad Townsend (Cowboys), 1 pt – Addin Fonua-Blake (Warriors)
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