2023 NRL Round 3: Warriors 26, Cowboys 12

North Queensland Cowboys failed to repel a rampant New Zealand Warriors side at Queensland Country Bank Stadium.


New Zealand Warriors 26
Tries: Wayde Egan 8th; Marcelo Montoya 28th, 55th; Jazz Tevaga 33rd; Edward Kosi 47th
Goals: Shaun Johnson 10th, 35th, 49th

North Queensland Cowboys 12
Tom Chester 4th; Reece Robson 13th
Goals: Valentine Holmes 6th, 14th

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With both teams fielding new look fullbacks, the two sides faced off in hot and humid conditions at the Queensland Country Bank Stadium.

The Cowboys started the better of the two sides and it was one of the new fullbacks that got the scoring off to a start with Tom Chester getting on the end of a ricocheting in goal kick from Chad Townsend, after the home side marched up the field off the back of Wayde Egan giving away six again.

With Robson finding joy through in and around the markers, the Cowboys continued to dominate on the front foot, but it was the Warriors who got over the try line next with Egan gathering an Addin Fonua-Blake offload to crawl over and score despite being tackled before the line.

The Cowboys tested the Warriors’ debutante fullback, Taine Tuaupiki, with high bombs – by which he wasn’t troubled – but a small chip to the middle of the pitch saw Tom Chester get the better of Tuaupiki for the ball to drop to Reece Robson to run in under the sticks unchallenged. The ensuing Valentine Holmes conversion made the scores 12-6 with just 15 minutes played.

The Cowboys broke down their left edge soon after, but a desperate Warriors defence managed to hold the home side out and avoid back-to-back scores. The game continued in end-to-end fashion on the ensuing set for the Warriors, with Marcelo Montoya held up down the Cowboys’ end having started the set on their own try line.

Sustained pressure wrestled the game back in the Warriors’ favour and unforced errors from the Cowboys continued to invite The New Zealand side to attack. They attacked with ease and pierced the Cowboys’ defence twice in quick succession, first through Montoya and then through Jazz Tevaga – who crossed with ease through the frail Cowboys’ middle to take the lead 12-16 and go into half time in control of the game.

The Cowboys’ frail defence continued in the second half and just under 10 minutes in, they allowed the Warriors to march up field with ease and score in the corner off the back of an impressive carry and offload by Adam Pompey. Shortly after the try, Reece Robson invited more pressure on his own side by letting go of the ball when trying to milk a penalty from the referee, the Cowboys even challenged the knock on decision and consequently wasted their challenge for the game.

The Warriors attacked with ease on the ensuing set and forced a set restart – to which the Cowboys desperately defended while looking much the worse side of the two. The home side struggled to bring the ball out from their own end, clearly out enthused by the travelling Warriors which they eventually converted into a penalty 40 metres out. The Warriors turned down the opportunity of two points to extend their lead to 12 and instead opted to run the penalty.

They broke down the Cowboys defence with ease and earned another penalty, this time more kickable but the visitors once again decided to run given the Cowboys’ defence resembling a turnstile. The decision paid off and Montoya crossed again on the left wing to make the score 26-12 in favour of the Warriors.

The Cowboys managed to get some good ball possession and Shibasaki knocked on in the act of trying to score, only to be saved his blushes by the referee who gave a penalty for offside. The Cowboys couldn’t make use of the penalty with Tom Chester looking the most likely to cross before Jeremiah Nanai got on the end of an overpowered Townsend kick in goal only for it to be too deep to ground in the field of play.

More errors stunted a comeback from the home side and the Warriors continued to attack to great effect, moving the Cowboys defence around at will though to no effect on the scoreboard. Given their extensive lead, the Warriors began to switch off and make unforced errors, inviting the Cowboys for a comeback. They couldn’t make use of the gifted possessions, however, and the Warriors took an impressive 26-12 victory away from Queensland Country Bank Stadium.


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3 – Marcelo Montoya (Warrriors)
2 – Te Maire Martin (Warriors)
1 – Taine Tuaupiki (Warriors)

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