The Cowboys comprehensively defeated the Eels in Johnathan Thurston’s final match at 1300SMILES Stadium on Friday night. The Cowboys got themselves off the foot of the ladder with a 44-6 victory.
A penalty underneath the sticks gave the Cowboys a chance to kick for two points after two minutes. Thurston made no mistake and from the next set they travelled the entire field to send Ben Hampton in off a Thurston pass. It didn’t take long for them to add a second, the offloading up the middle and the attack out wide carving up the Eels’ defence. It was another nice pass from Thurston to send Hampton over for his second. The possession evened up a little but the Eels couldn’t get through and found themselves further behind with a leaping Kyle Feldt try. A great sideline conversion from Thurston sent the score to 20-0 after 20 minutes. They backed this up with another spectacular try through Feldt, placing the ball down inside the sideline with most of his body hanging outside the field of play. They were over again when Gideon Gela-Mosby scored a few plays after a Hampton line break. Anything the Eels tried was fruitless as the Cowboys went into halftime leading 32-0.
The Cowboys continued their impressive attack into the second half with another try to Feldt, finishing off his hat-trick. The Cowboys continued to press and after continuous penalties on their own line, Brad Takarangi was sin binned. It didn’t take long for them to take advantage, with Gavin Cooper crossing (scoring for the eighth straight match). The Eels combined to send Michael Jennings over for their first try of the night. After that the quality dropped with both teams making simple mistakes, an indication of their places on the ladder.
OVER BEFORE THE BREAK
The halftime stats don’t always reflect the score, but this time they did. The Cowboys had 70% of possession, seven line breaks, 21 sets (compared to Parramatta’s 12) and 1122 meters against the Eels’ 422. It was no surprise the Eels were trailing 32-0.
WOODEN SPOON EELS
This loss makes it very difficult for Parramatta to avoid the wooden spoon. Their closest opponents (Canterbury, North Queensland, Manly) are two points in front of them and the margin of tonight’s loss has made things worse. Next week they play the table-topping Sydney Roosters.
250 FOR THUMPER
The first forward for the Cowboys to reach the 250 game milestone is co-captain Matt Scott. His past two years have been hindered by injury, but he has played a big part in their recent return to form. The effort and meters he gets through in the middle helped open Parramatta out wide.
THE PERFECT SEND OFF
Tonight was always going to be about the Cowboys and creating the perfect send off for Thurston. While the champion half wasn’t able to score, the packed crowd weren’t disappointed. His final home game will live long in the memory for most Cowboys supporters.
North Queensland Cowboys 44
Tries: Kyle Feldt 3, Ben Hampton 2, Gideon Gela-Mosby, Gavin Cooper
Goals: Jonathan Thurston 8/8
Parramatta Eels 6
Tries: Michael Jennings
Goals: Mitchell Moses 1/1
North Queensland Cowboys
14. Ben Hampton, 2. Kyle Feldt, 3. Justin O’Neill, 4. Kane Linnett, 5. Gideon Gela-Mosby, 6. Jake Clifford, 7. Johnathan Thurston (c), 8. Matthew Scott, 9. Jake Granville, 10. Jordan McLean, 11. Gavin Cooper, 12. Coen Hess, 13. Jason Taumalolo.
Interchange 15. John Asiata, 16. Francis Molo, 17. Scott Bolton, 18. Ethan Lowe
1. Corey Norman, 2. Jarryd Hayne, 3. Michael Jennings, 4. Clint Gutherson (c), 5. George Jennings, 6. Jaeman Salmon, 7. Mitch Moses, 8. Kane Evans, 14. Cameron King, 10. Siosaia Vave, 11. Marata Niukore, 12. Tepai Moeroa, 13. Peni Terepo.
Interchange 9. Reed Mahoney, 15. Tim Mannah (c), 16. David Gower, 17. Brad Takairangi