Brad Inger reviews the Round 5 clash between the Warriors and Cowboys at Moreton Daily Stadium; here’s how the match went.
New Zealand Warriors 25
Tries: Jesse Arthars 10, Josh Curran 38, Kodi Nikorima 41, Euan Aitken 61
Goals: Reece Walsh 11, 40, 42, 64
Field goal: Shaun Johnson 82
North Queensland Cowboys 24
Tries: Tom Dearden 6, Scott Drinkwater 21, Kyle Feldt 34, Valentine Holmes 47
Goals: Valentine Holmes 15, 35, 59
MATCH REPORTEmbed from Getty Images
The Warriors had the first chance at points in the early stages after Shaun Johnson pushed a grubber into the in-goal; however, Jesse Arthars could not keep hold of it, handing the Cowboys a seven tackle set. The Cowboys troubled the home side with their offloading, creating several pieces of second-phase football. The New Zealand side struggled with their defensive reads, but Chanel Harris-Tavita forced a knock-on when he floored Chad Townsend; however, it was only a slight reprieve as the visitors wasted little time getting back into the Warrior’s RedZone and found themselves the first to put points on the board when Tom Dearden evaded Josh Curran’s tackle and darted across the line. The New Zealand side fought back and levelled the scores a few minutes when Arthars made up for his previous error by latching onto a Johnson short ball for the Warrior’s first try of the evening; a Reece Walsh conversion handed the home side the lead. The sides settled into the grind and traded sets until Addin Fonua-Blake made the error of all errors, casually attempting to grab a Cowboys kick in goal and allowing Scott Drinkwater to pounce on it, handing the visitors back the lead. The New Zealand side found themselves under pressure due to some poor discipline but were able to keep the Cowboys out and get themselves into the visitor’s half. Still, the hard work was undone when Murray Taulagi intercepted a Johnson cutout pass. He screamed down the pitch before being caught by Adam Pompey; with the Warrior’s defensive line in tatters, the Cowboys spread the ball out wide for Kyle Feldt to score his side’s third try of the night. The first half was winding to a close, but the Warriors still had a little bit of juice in the tank and got themselves in prime attacking position after Harris-Tavita nailed a 40/20; a plays later, Curren crossed the white line untouched for the home sides second try to see them go into the sheds trailing the Cowboys 18-12.
HALF-TIME: North Queensland Cowboys 18 New Zealand Warriors 12Embed from Getty Images
Taulagi went from hero to villain as soon as the second half started, dropping the kick-off and gifting the Warriors excellent field position. The home side levelled the scores moments later when Kodi Nikorima spied some poor goal-line defence and darted his way across to level the scores. An error by Bunty Afoa gave the Cowboys the ball back, and after back to back six again calls, a decision to run on the last proved successful when Valentine Holmes strutted over the line and, after a wrestle with Walsh, grounded the ball to regain the lead. Both sides went through a patch where they struggled to complete sets, making errors, but a penalty against Marcelo Montoya for a high shot, allowed the Cowboys to push their lead out by two. The Warriors made another error when Walsh dropped a kick defusal, but the Cowboys were unable to add to their lead; the home side had their turn to get a few six again calls, and they made the most of it when Euan Aitken bashed his way through to score, levelling the scores once again. Time was winding down, and both sides were desperate to get the win; with the Warriors attempting two field goals, Johnson had his charged down, and Walsh’s sailed to the left. North Queensland had one last dash but could not get it done with the ball coming loose and Harris-Tavita diving on it. This saw the match go into Golden Point.Embed from Getty Images
The Warriors started Golden Point with the ball in hand and unsuccessfully attempted two field goals on their first drive. The Cowboys marched up the field, but Townsend’s attempt also missed; Walsh scooped up the ball and made a big run up the field. After a few one out runs, Wayde Egan fired the ball at Johnson, who had to step an offside defender before kicking his side to their third win in a row with an ugly field goal and a 25-24 victory.
FULL-TIME: New Zealand Warriors 25 North Queensland Cowboys 24
PLAYER OF THE YEAR POINTSEmbed from Getty Images
3 pts – Chanel Harris-Tavita (Warriors), 2 pts – Scott Drinkwater (Cowboys), 1 pt – Josh Curran (Warriors)
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