MATCH REPORT | North Queensland Cowboys 16-42 Cronulla Sharks

The Cronulla Sharks went on to win 42-16 against the North Queensland Cowboys at 1300SMILES Stadium after a woeful first half.

MATCH DETAILS

It was a stop-start first forty, with both the Cowboys and the Sharks having lacklustre first halves, making error after error. The first try of the match came from Chad Townsend, with Shaun Johnson easily converting. Jordan McLean and Te Maire Martin scored the Cowboys’ two tries in the first half, however only one was converted. After a tedious first half, the Cowboys went into the break four points ahead. Neither team looked entirely convincing in the opening half, heading to the sheds at the break with plenty to work on.

The Sharks surprised plenty of people in the second half, starting with plenty of intensity. Cronulla completed at 100 per cent and scored five straight tries in just 20 minutes and left no room for the home team to attempt a comeback. Josh Morris and Chad Townsend scored doubles, and the Sharks were leading by 26 when the Cowboys’ Gavin Cooper scored a try late in the second half. Blayke Brailey scored his first try of his NRL career in the final minute of the match, putting the finishing touches on what was a great win by the Sharks, despite completing at just 65 per cent.

It was evident that the Cowboys are struggling with their halves and their fullback. This is something that needs to be improved upon in order for North Queensland to have a strong 2019.

FOUR POINTERS

Completion Rate Still an Issue

Despite a 26 point win, Cronulla completed at just 65 per cent. The side made a total of 16 handling errors throughout the game, which ordinarily may cost them the match. In the first twenty minutes of the second half, the Sharks scored five tries, and in that time completed at 100 per cent. However, it was their inadequate first half performance that kept their completion rate in the 60s. It is important that this is improved upon to ensure success throughout the season.

Cowboys Struggling with their Spine

The entire Cowboys side seemed to struggle against Cronulla, however it became evident in the Saturday evening match that North Queensland are struggling with the combination in their spine, which is made up of Martin, Jake Clifford and captain Michael Morgan. Changes had to be made after Thurston’s retirement after the 2018 season, and the combination of these players is something that is important for the Cowboys to work on in the coming weeks.

A Handful of Injuries for Cronulla

In his milestone match, Cronulla captain Paul Gallen left the field with a rib injury in the first half. This game marked his 329th for the Sharks, surpassing Andrew Ettinghausen’s record. Late in the second half, fullback Matt Moylan went down and left the field with a hamstring complaint. The club will be hoping to see both players back in a few weeks at the most, however, it is unclear the extent of the injuries, and therefore when Moylan and Gallen will return to the field.

Taumoalolo is Missed

Cowboys’ second rower Jason Taumalolo suffered a grade three medial ligament injury in last weekend’s loss to the Brisbane Broncos. It is expected that he will miss the next 6-10 weeks, which, as suspected, will take a toll on the Cowboys in the next few weeks as they adjust their roster. Taumalolo was instrumental to the Cowboys in round one, and will no doubt be missed during his recovery period.

THE RESULT

North Queensland Cowboys 16

Tries: Jordan McLean, Te Maire Martin, Gavin Cooper

Goals: Jordan Kahu 2

 Cronulla Sharks 42

Tries: Chad Townsend (2), Josh Morris (2), Briton Nikora, Josh Dugan, Blayke Brailey

Goals: Shaun Johnson 7

SQUADS

North Queensland Cowboys

1. Te Maire Martin, 2. Nene Macdonald, 3. Jordan Kahu, 4. Ben Hampton, 5. Javid Bowen 6. Jake Clifford, 7. Michael Morgan, 8. Matt Scott, 9. Jake Granville, 10. Jordan McLean, 11. Gavin Cooper, 12. Coen Hess, 13. Josh McGuire. interchange: 14. John Asiata, 15. Corey Jensen, 16. Mitchell Dunn, 17. Francis Molo

Cronulla Sharks

1. Matt Moylan, 2. Sosaia Feki, 3. Josh Dugan, 4. Josh Morris, 5. Sione Katoa, 6. Shaun Johnson, 7. Chad Townsend, 8. Andrew Fifita, 9. Jayden Brailey, 10. Matt Prior, 11. Briton Nikora, 12. Kurt Capewell, 13. Paul Gallen. Interchange: 14. Blayke Brailey, 15. Jayson Bukuya, 16. Aaron Woods, 17. Jack Williams

 

 

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