Lachlan Jeffery reviews the 2022 Season of the Cowboys where they finished third on the ladder.
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Young guns lead Cowboys back to finals
Off the back of a 15th place finish in 2021, a five-year finals drought and a lack of movement in the players market, other than the addition of Chad Townsend, not much was expected of the Cowboys in 2022. After losing three of their opening five games, it looked as though they would be in for another long season. However, things soon began to turn around.
Scott Drinkwater came into the side at fullback in round 5 and quickly gave the Cowboys an extra playmaking option that they sorely needed, which took pressure off Townsend and Tom Dearden. Valentine Holmes began to look more comfortable in his new position of centre and returned to his best. Jason Taumalolo returned to the form he showed earlier in his career, while young guns Murray Taulagi, Jeremiah Nanai, Reuben Cotter and Tom Gilbert were all rewarded with State of Origin debuts off the back of their outstanding form.
The Cowboys began to show themselves as a danger side with a six straight wins, including a 35-4 thrashing of Parramatta in Darwin in round 8 and a 36-6 flogging of Melbourne in round 11.
The juggernaut began to slow mid-season, losing to a number of top sides and scraping past lower ones, including a stunning comeback against Manly and the controversial victory against Wests Tigers, however they still managed to finish 3rd and a set up a qualifying final against the Sharks.
In one of the matches of the year, the Cowboys once again got out of jail, claiming a 32-30 win in the 93rd minute of play to qualify for the club’s first-ever home preliminary final, where a record crowd saw the dream come to an end, falling 24-20 against the Parramatta Eels.
NothingButLeague Cowboys Player of 2022: Scott Drinkwater (19)Embed from Getty Images
Try Assists: 21
Run Metres: 2,544
Line Breaks: 12
Tackle Bursts: 82
Other Points: 17 Jeremiah Nanai; 13 Jason Taumalolo, Valentine Holmes; 10 Reece Robson; 8 Tom Dearden; 6 Chad Townsend; 3 Reuben Cotter; 2 Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow, Luciano Leilua, Tom Gilbert; 1 Peta Hiku.