2023 NRL Round 20: Cowboys 19, Sea Eagles 8

The North Queensland Cowboys have continued their rise up the ladder with a strong 19-8 win over the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles at 4 Pines Park.

Result

North Queensland Cowboys 19
Tries: Reuben Cotter (26), Jeremiah Nanai (29), Scott Drinkwater (56)
Goals: Valentine Holmes (28, 31, 57)
Field goals: Chad Townsend (40)

Manly Warringah Sea Eagles 8
Tries: Dean Matterson (16), Brad Parker (48)
Goals:

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The Sea Eagles welcomed the Cowboys to 4 Pines Park with both sides fighting to stay in touch with the top eight. All Origin players chose to backup, with Reuben Cotter starting from the bench. Starting the game with confidence, the Cowboys came close to opening the scoring, but a no try call was upheld by the bunker. After Reuben Garrick left the field for a HIA, the Sea Eagles found a try.

Dean Matterson scored with his second touch in the NRL, off the back of Jason Saab keeping the ball alive. After Matterson scored, the two sides traded sets through the middle as ill-discipline crept in. Against the run of play, the Cowboys got their first points. Valentine Holmes broke free and found Reuben Cotter in support who scored under the posts. Three minutes later, Tom Dearden setup Jeremiah Nanai for a try, extending the Cowboys lead to eight.

On the stroke of halftime, Chad Townsend converted a field goal to put the Cowboys up 13-4 at the break.

Beginning the second half, the Sea Eagles looked to have scored through Reuben Garrick, however the bunker overturned the decision. They didn’t have to wait long to get another crack, and this time they cashed in. Lachlan Croker took a quick tap and caught the Cowboys napping. As a result, the Sea Eagles spread the ball to Brad Parker who sliced through the defence to score. Following the Parker try, the Cowboys fended off repeat sets on their goal line and turned defence into attack.

Attacking the Sea Eagles line, Scott Drinkwater accelerated through a gap for a try, extending the margin to 11 points. The Cowboys surged forward, looking to land the knock-out blow. Murray Taulagi went close to sealing the game with a try, but his effort was ruled a double movement. Despite forcing multiple repeat sets, the Cowboys couldn’t land the decisive try.

However, the desperate defence sapped all the energy out of the Sea Eagles. They made a final push to mount a comeback, but the Cowboys defence held strong to secure a 19-8 victory.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR POINTS

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3 – Valentine Holmes (North Queensland Cowboys)
2 – Scott Drinkwater (North Queensland Cowboys)
1 – Lachlan Croker (Manly Warringah Sea Eagles)

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