Lachy MacCorquodale reviews Sunday afternoon nail biter between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Wests Tigers.
North Queensland Cowboys 27
Tries: Tom Dearden (1), Valentine Holmes (47), Jeremiah Nani (53, 67)
Goals: Valentine Holmes 5 (3, 48, 55, 69, 80 – pen)
One-Point Field Goals: Valentine Holmes (73)
Wests Tigers 26
Tries: Brent Naden (10, 74), Fa’amanu Brown (20), Asu Kepaoa (35), Starford To’a (78)
Goals: Adam Douiehi 3 (12, 21, 43 – pen)
MATCH REPORTEmbed from Getty Images
The North Queensland Cowboys have come away with the two points in controversial fashion after a penalty was called for a rather non-existent infringement, granting the home side a shot at goal to win the game.
It was a rather sour note to end an otherwise fantastic end to a surprisingly close contest after many were predicting a Cowboys flogging.
The game started with many thinking the same when Tom Dearden crossed in the opening minutes of the game to give the Cowboys an early lead. However, the Tigers were up for the battle, striking twice in the first 20 minutes on the back of some dominant territory. The Tigers continued to capitalise on the nine first half errors from the Cowboys before grabbing their third try just before half-time with a superb looping pass from Luke Brooks as Asu Kepaoa scored in the corner with a brilliant finish.
To the Townsville crowd’s shock, the 16th placed Tigers led by 10 at the half-time break due in part to a fantastic half of football from Daine Laurie who finished with two try assists and 12 tackle breaks for the game. The away side came out ready to defend their lead and were granted an opportunity to extend their lead by two points just after play resumed. Wests took some comfort with their 12-point led and that allowed the Cowboys to come back into the contest.
Two tries in five minutes, thanks to Valentine Holmes and Jeremiah Nanai, brought the home side level with the Tigers. The Cowboys were gifted the lead when a stray pass from Brooks went to ground: it was picked up by Nani who ran it under the posts for his second of the afternoon, heartbreakingly just after the Tigers survived 10 minutes with 12 players on the park.
Just when it seemed like it was over (after a Holmes field goal gave the Cowboys a seven-point lead), the Tigers answered. Firstly, Brent Naden in the 74th minute, and secondly through Starford To’a in the closing stages after a brilliant offload from Adam Doueihi left Laurie and To’a with a two-on-one which they executed to give the Tigers the lead.
Then came the aforementioned penalty after the kick-off for an escort on Kyle Feldt and Holmes was given a shot to win the game, which he expertly slotted. A sour end to the Tigers’ fans Sunday, whilst the Cowboys fans celebrated.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR POINTSEmbed from Getty Images
3 pts – Daine Laurie (Tigers), 2 pts – Jeremiah Nanai (Cowboys), 1 pt – Luke Brooks (Tigers)
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